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overview   Malian Labor Code

The Malian Labor Code is a collection of legislative and regulatory documents which define the relationship between employee and employer in the Republic of Mali. Based principally on the French Legal Code, the Malian Labor Code provides detailed guidance and regulations which must be adhered to if one is to conduct activities in the country. The tenets of the Malian Labor Code apply to contracted personnel with the exception of Civil Servants, attorneys and military personnel. The key elements are provided to MSC partners as a courtesy, but we strongly encourage all partners to review the actual Labor Code at:


Payment and Fringe Benefits

  1. Seniority Bonus – The worker having continuous service of more than three years with an employer through previous indeterminate length contracts or direct hire employment are entitled to a seniority bonus. (Article L.97) The seniority bonus is calculated as a percentage of the above stated annual salary at the following rates: 
  • 3% after three years of continual service
  • 5% after five years of continual service
  • Plus 1% for each additional year of continual service up to a maximum limit of 15%.
  1. INPS – (Institut Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale) – Malian social security agency. In commercial and service sectors of the economy (based on risk factor) the employer will take deductions of 6.66% from the Contract employee's salary, benefits and allowance (not including transport & child allowances) as the contract employee's contribution to INPS. The employer will also contribute 19.9% of the Contract employee's salary, benefits and allowance (not including transport & child allowances) as the Employers contribution to INPS.

Types of Leave Authorized in the Malian Labor Code

  1. Annual Leave - Annual leave is equivalent to two and a half days per month of work accrued, for a total of 30 calendar days per year (working days and weekends included). (Article L. 151). For convenience, this is considered the equivalent of 22 working days per year. 
  • The Contract employee with more than 15 years of full-time service with The employer is entitled to two additional working days of vacation time per year.
  • The Contract employee with more than 20 years of full-time service with The employer is entitled to four additional working days of vacation time per year.
  • The Contract employee with more than 25 years of full-time service with The employer is entitled to six additional working days of vacation per year. (Article L. 154).
  1. Sick leave - will be granted:
  • Upon presentation of medical certification by a Doctor approved by the employers that leave is necessary.
  • For medical, dental and optical exams as approved in advance by a Doctor approved by the employer.
  • If because of contact with a contagious disease (as certified by a Doctor approved by the employer) the Contract employee's presence endangers the health of his colleagues.
  1. Special Leave – A maximum of ten days Special Leave per year may be granted in addition to Annual Leave for events affecting the immediate family including births, deaths, and marriages. Immediate family member is defined as (1) spouse, (2) children (3) parent(s) of the employee or spouse (4) sisters and brothers of the employee or spouse.  (Article L. 146).
  • Maternity Leave – The female contract employee with at least nine months of creditable service with the employer will be entitled, upon properly documented request, to fourteen weeks of unpaid maternity leave.  This is limited to a maximum of six weeks before confinement and eight weeks after confinement.  Local law does not allow for any amounts in excess of these amounts for maternity leave except as noted in the following paragraph. In case of medical complications, the female Contract employee may be eligible for an additional three weeks of maternity leave during which INPS continues salary payments.  No salary or allowances will be paid by the employer. However, maternity leave is considered creditable service, and the Contract employee will continue to accrue annual leave as detailed in Article L. 151.  (Article L.179)
  • Nursing Mothers – For a period of up to fifteen months after the birth of a child, the female Contract employee who is a nursing mother has a right to a one-hour pause at the place of work to nurse their child.  (Article L. 184).
  • Annual Leave for Mothers - Women with children under fifteen years old are entitled to one additional day of annual leave per year and per child under fifteen. (Article L. 155).

Separation, Retirement and Notification

  1. Separation and Retirement – The Contract employee having continuous service of more than one year with the employer through previous contracts or direct hire employment is entitled to Severance Pay Benefits if the Contract employee is separated from his contract due to circumstances beyond his or her control (force majeure such as war, riot, strike or act of God). (Article L.53) If, however, the Contract employee resigns from his or her post, the Contract employee must have 10 years of creditable, continuous full-time service in order to receive his or her separation payment for services rendered.  If the Contract employee is separated for cause, the rules spelled out in the Malian Code will be followed. Severance is calculated by taking the average monthly salary earned during the past twelve months and applying the following percentages:
  • 20% of the average monthly salary for each of the first five years of employment.
  • 25% of the average monthly salary for each of the 6th through 10th year of employment.
  • 30% of the average monthly salary for each year after the 10th year of employment.
  1. Separation Notification – In the absence of “Joint conventions” (Article L. 41)

    • One month for a lower-level contract employee whose salary is paid on a monthly basis.
    • Two months for a mid-level contract employee.  
    • Three months for management staff (cadré) and equivalent high level staff. NB: The MSC interprets cadré to be considered managers and also staff who possess an advanced degree. This interpretation extends to most research staff.
      • Retirement – The official retirement age in Mali is 58 years.  Those insured under the INPS (Malian social security) request the liquidation of their pension beginning at 53 years. The Contract employee and The employer can extend the age of retirement to that of 60 years through an agreement between the two parties.(Article L. 60 and Law No. 03-036 of December 30, 2003 – Modification of the Social Security Code).
      • Retirement Notification – Each Contract employee will be given a written notice of six months in advance of the effective date of separation. (Article L.60)


    Fixed-Term Contracts

    1. Definition of a Fixed-Term Contract - The Fixed-Term Work Contract is a contract where the length of the contract is specified in advance, following the agreement of both parties.  A contract for doing a determined work or for setting up an enterprise whereby the term depends on a certain event in the future, yet the date of that event is not exactly known, is also considered a Fixed-Term Work Contract.  (Article L.18)
    1. Renewal Restrictions on a Fixed-Term Contract - A worker cannot renew a Fixed-Term Work Contract more than two times.  The continuation of services beyond those renewals constitutes the engagement in an Indeterminate Length Work Contract.  (Article L.20)


    1. Additional Details on a Fixed-Term Contract - A Fixed-Term Work Contract must be a written document. If no contract is written, by default, the arrangement is considered to be for an Indeterminate Length.  (Article L.21)
    • A Fixed-Term Work Contract cannot exceed a period of two years. 
    • The Fixed-Term Work Contract created in order to engage in construction is not subject to the above mentioned time limit, but the contract cannot be renewed. 
    • A Fixed-Term Work Contract of more than three months must be provided to the Labor Inspector by the employer before engaging in the execution of the contract. 


    1. Clarification on the objective of a Fixed-Term Contract – A Fixed-Term Work Contract cannot have as objective to fill, for a long term, a post linked with the normal and permanent operations of an enterprise. (Article L.22)
    1. Restriction on Cancelling a Fixed-Term Contract – A Fixed-Term Work Contract cannot be cancelled before the term of the contract is completed unless there is major misconduct, written mutual agreement or due to a “force majeure” (war, strike, riot, crime or act of God are examples). The failure on the part of the employer to observe the provisions of the preceding paragraph requires penalties (damages) to be paid in an amount equal to the pay the employee would have received through the remaining period of the contract.  (Article L.25)


    1. Stipulations on Fixed-Term Contract Cancellation– The Fixed-Term Contract may not be cancelled before the term ends through the desire of only one of the parties, except in cases specified in the contract, or in the case of major misconduct at the discretion of the relevant jurisdiction.  An unjustified cancelling of a contract by one party entitles the other party to receive payment of penalties. (Article L. 39)

    Indeterminate Length Work Contract

    1. Definition of an Indeterminate Length Work Contract - All contracts that do not match the definitions of the Fixed-Term Work Contract, an Apprenticeship Contract, Internship contract for gaining qualification or a Trial Engagement Contract should be considered an Indeterminate Length Work Contract.  (Article L.19)
    1. Stipulations on Indeterminate Length Cancellation – An Indeterminate Length Contract can always be cancelled by one of the parties.  This resolution is subordinate to a notification given by the party who sought to end the contract.  All employers who wish to release a worker who has worked for more than three months in an enterprise is required to inform the Work Inspector, preferably by letter, and including information related to the worker and the employer and the reason for the dismissal. The Work Inspector must respond within 15 days to the letter. In the case of the contesting of the separation or the motives of the dismissal, the employee can present the case to the Labor Tribunal.  The proceeding before the Labor Tribunal suspends the decision of the employer.  (Article L.40)

    Trial Period of Contracts
    A trial period must be expressly stated in writing.  This commitment includes:

    • The employment and the professional category of the employee.
    • The length of time of the trial period. Normally it is equal to the notification required to terminate a contract, but can be specified to be a maximum of six months (which includes the period of renewal).  (Article L.30)

    Contract Suspension

    1. (Article L. 34) – A Work Contract can be suspended:
    1. In case of military or civil service of the employer whose absence would result in the closing of the establishment.
    2. During the legal term of military or civil work obligations. 
    3. During the length of the absence of a worker due to an illness or an accident which occurred outside the workplace and certified by a medical doctor.  The length is limited to six months, but can be extended until the worker is replaced. 
    4. During a period of unavailability due to a work accident or an illness related to the workplace. 
    5. During a period of custody or the detention of the worker, provided that this shall not exceed six months.   
    6. During a period of “Temporary technical layoff “ in the conditions of article L.35. 
    7. During a strike and a lock out if the individual triggers an act with respect to the procedures and regulations of different unions. 
    8. During the period of a layoff.
    9. During the period of paid vacation and work-related continuing education. 
    10. During the term of local or national elections for the exercise of a political function by the worker.
    11. During maternity leave.
    12. During the stated period of widowhood for an employed woman when the husband dies. This suspension must be requested in writing and be accompanied by a copy of death certificate and the couple’s marriage certificate.  This cannot exceed four months and 10 days.
    13. During a pilgrimage to the holy lands.
    14. During the duration of authorized absences for a worker required for participation in cultural and sporting events organized by the Government of Mali. 
    1. Informing the Work Inspector – The Work Inspector must be informed prior to the temporarily layoff of all or part of an employer’s staff, due to the necessities of business or as a result of unforeseen events or “force majeure”. The duration of a suspension may not exceed three months.  Beyond three months, and in the case of the rejection by the employee of the conditions of suspension proposed, the eventual termination of the contract is attributable to the employer.  (Article L. 35)


    1. Remuneration while performing Military and Civil Obligations - In the case referred to the article L.34 (1 and 2) the employer must pay the worker compensation which gives the latter the amount of compensation he would have received had he worked and in the limit of the period of his notification. (Article L. 36)
    1. Remuneration during non-work related illness or injury – In the case of Article L.34 (3) the employer should pay the worker in the following manner:

                     During the first year of presence with the enterprise:

      • Pay equal to what would normally be the individual’s notification of separation (defined in Article L41).

    After the first year of presence with the enterprise:

      • Pay equal to half a month’s salary (in addition to the individual’s notification of separation and separation indemnities). (Article L. 37)
    1. Remuneration during other suspended contract periods – In the case of Article L. 34 (5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13 and 14) the suspension of the contract is allowed with no salary payment.  (Article L. 38)


“Having the MSC administer finances takes a large burden off the scientists’ shoulders - -  we are scientists, not financial managers.” 

- A Malian senior scientist who receives research funding from NIAID and other institutions.

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