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Rwanda - Substantive requirements for dismissals

Substantive requirements for dismissals (justified and prohibited grounds) - Rwanda - 2013    

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Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes
  • Art 30 LL: the written notification of the dismissal must specify the reasons for the dismissal.

Valid grounds (justified dismissal): any fair reasons
  • Art. 30 LL provides that an open-ended contract can always be terminated at the will of either party provided that there are legitimate motives for terminating the contract.
    See also art. 1(12) which defines unfair dismissal as "termination of employment contract by the employer without justifiable reason or observance of procedures established by law".

Prohibited grounds: marital status; pregnancy; maternity leave; family responsibilities; colour; religion; political opinion; social origin; nationality/national origin; trade union membership and activities; disabilities; financial status; ethnic origin
  • The LL does not contain a list of prohibited grounds for dismissal.
    However, it contains a general prohibition of discrimination in work matter.
    Art. 12 LL prohibits direct or indirect discrimination aiming at denying workers the right to equal opportunity or equal treatment especially when the discrimination is
    based upon the following:
    1. Race, color, or origin;
    2. sex, marital status or family responsibilities;
    3. religion, beliefs or political opinions;
    4. social or economic conditions;
    5. country of origin;
    6. disability;
    7. previous, current or future pregnancy;
    8. any other type of discrimination.

    - Art. 114 LL prohibits an employer from relying on trade union membership or activities to take favourable or unfair decisions concerning a worker with regard to benefits and working conditions.

    - Art. 67 LL prohibits the employer from giving notice of dismissal during maternity leave.

Workers enjoying special protection: workers' representatives; pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave; confirmed injured workers
  • - Women on maternity leave:
    Prohibition to dismiss a woman during maternity leave (art. 67 LL)

    - Workers' representatives:
    In case of an unlauful dismissal, workers' delegates and trade union representatives are entitled to higher compensation: a maximum of 9 months' pay (instead of 6 months' pay).

    - Injured workers declared unfit to work:
    Art. 100 LL: The employer shall notify the Labor Inspector prior to dismissing a worker dismissed due to an accident.

    It is also worth noting that in case of termination of the employment contract during paid leave or suspension period by the employer, the notice allowance is doubled (art. 31 LL).
    Reasons for the suspension of the employment contract are listed in art. 25 LL, as follows:
    1. absence from work due to a disease confirmed by a recognized medical doctor;
    2. worker's unavailability due to a work accident or a professional disease;
    3. maternity leave of a woman;
    4. a strike or lock-out which comply with the procedures regulating the labour collective dispute;
    5. worker's absence authorised by the employer by virtue of collective conventions or individual agreements between employer and worker;
    6. worker's lay-off;
    7. pre-trial detention of a worker for a period not exceeding six (6) months;
    8. training of the worker organized by a trade union to which he/she is entitled as per the modalities set by the law or collective conventions ;
    9. suspension of the enterprise's activity due to technical reasons;
    10. in case of force majeure or any other reason provided for by the law with the effect of preventing one of the parties from fulfilling its obligation.

    In Rwanda, there is no prohibition of termination of employment during the suspension period (except for maternity leave, see art. 67 LL), the employer is only required to pay twice the amount of the notice allowance.