With one of the lowest minimum wage rates in the world (US $115/month), Timor-Leste presents an attractive business environment for any investor looking to employ local workers. Timor-Leste has nearly 300,000 people active in the workforce (mainly agriculture), which is expected to increase over the next few years

Timorese government had carried out the first ever agricultural census in 2019 which offered valuable insights on the sector. The aim is research in depth the agriculture sector to develop the sector which plays a pivot role in developing the economy by improving the policies and planning in this sector.

Timor-Leste has 32 Secondary Technical Vocational Education schools with over 8,000 students. There are very few recruitment agencies in Timor-Leste with people typically being recruited through newspaper adverts, social media and word/mouth.

Portuguese and Tetun are the two official languages in Timor-Leste although English is increasingly spoken in the workforce particularly amongst younger Timorese.

The country has an established labour code with clear guidelines for employers and the following labour laws apply:

Fixed Term Contracts Max 3 years
Probationary Periods Contract (Max 8-15 days) and Permanent (1-3 months)
Work Time Max 8 hours/week or 44 days/week. Overtime rates apply
Annual Leave Min 12 days/year + 3 days special leave (bereavement etc.)
National Holidays 17/calendar year
Remuneration Fixed or variable (performance) paid by cash, cheque, bank transfer
Employment Termination 30 days notice
Parenthood Leave Min 12 weeks (female), 5 days (male)
Minimum Work Age 15 years
Medical Tests Requires written consent of job applicant or employee
Foreign Workers Any citizen who is not a Timorese national but work/lives in Timor

Source: Secretariat of State for Vocational Training and Employment (SEPFOPE)Sefope Facebook.

For more details on Timor-Leste labour laws download TradeInvest’s factsheet:
  Factsheet Labour