Lebanon has a very powerful Labors syndicate. The active labor force (working population aged between 15 and 64) is about 1.3 million, or around 36% of the resident population.
Sectoral Distribution of Employment
A breakdown of the labor force by sector perpetually shows the pre-eminence of the service sector. Figures vary according to the source. As many as 41-46 percent of the working population are employed in this sector, almost twice as much as the trade sector, which employs 23 percent. Industry follows, then construction, and finally agriculture.
The basic labor laws were enacted in 1946, and in 1963, a Social Security law came into effect, which includes provisions for benefits such as end-of-service compensation, family allowance, sickness, maternity, and compensation for work-related accidents. The legal framework also provided for a Labor Arbitration Council, a judicial committee that resolves disputes between employers and employees.
There are two classifications of employees under the law. The first includes all professional workers who hold office jobs. The second category is comprised of manual laborers. Employees have certain rights and responsibilities under the law. When an employee is first hired, he/she is placed on a three-month probation. When the trial period is over, the employer must pay at least the equivalent of the minimum wage, which is currently LL300,000 (USD200) per month. On leaving his/her employment, the person is prohibited for a fixed period from opening a business in direct competition and within close proximity of his/her previous employer.
The Work Contract
Every company with more than 15 employees should send a copy of its working regulations to the Ministry of Labor. The regulations must incorporate the labor law guidelines. There are certain basic principles that govern the work contract, be it written or oral. If a contract is a written document, then it should be in Arabic. However, if the employer is a foreign national and does not speak Arabic, then the contract may be in another language
There are five categories of labor unions in Lebanon. The main one is the General Union, which includes both professional and manual laborers and is the umbrella organization of 28 local and professional unions.
The Ministry of Labor sets the minimum wage. Currently, it is LL300.000. This benchmark is applied in both, the public and private sector.
For further information on specific labor and employment law, please select the following document: