Capital: Lusaka

Population: (2022 est.) 18,913,000

Monetary Unit: Zambian Kwacha (ZMW)

Language(s): English

Zambia, landlocked country in south-central Africa. It is situated on a high plateau and takes its name from the Zambezi River, which drains all but a small northern part of the country.

The public holidays in Zambia are as follows;

Date           Holiday

  • 1 Jan          New Year’s Day
  • 2 Jan          New Year Holiday
  • 8 Mar         International Women’s Day
  • 12 Mar       Youth Day
  • 13 Mar       Youth Day Holiday
  • 7 Apr         Good Friday
  • 8 Apr         Easter Saturday
  • 10 Apr       Easter Monday
  • 28 Apr       Kenneth Kaunda Brithday
  • 1 May        Labour Day
  • 25 May      Africa Day
  • 3 Jul           Heroes’ Day
  • 4 Jul           Unity Day
  • 7 Aug         Farmers’ Day
  • 18 Oct        Prayer Day
  • 24 Oct        Independence Day
  • 25 Dec       Christmas Day

There are 4 types of employment contracts under the labor laws in Zambia;

  • Permanent employment: Employees’ contract expires on retirement unless terminated.
  • Long-term employment: This contract can last more than 12 months. It is also renewable for an additional term.
  • Task-specific employment: This contract ends once the hired worker completes the project or task.
  • Probationary employment: Under this contract, the probationary period generally lasts 3 months. The maximum duration is 6 months since extensions for another 3 months sometimes happen.

The 2019 Employment Code Act allows for a 3 month probationary period to evaluate a candidate. The probationary period can be extended from 3 to 6 months. The employer has the option to terminate the contract at any time during this period.

Full-time employees are entitled to at least two days of annual leave/paid holidays per month of employment. The annual leave total includes 24 calendar days.

The 2019 Employment Code Act of Zambia grants pregnant employees 14 weeks of maternity leave, up from 12 weeks under the Employment Act of 1965. The minimum post-natal leave requirement is 6 weeks. In the event of multiple births, maternity leave can be extended to 18 weeks.

Male employees are entitled to 5 days of paid paternity leave.

The length of paid sick leave depends on the nature of the work contract. A short-term contract employee receives full compensation for the first 26 working days of sick leave, followed by half pay (50%) for the next 26 working days of sick leave. A long-term contract employee receives full pay for the first 3 months of sick absence and half pay for the next 3 months.

Severance pay is defined under the Employment Code Act of 2019 as “wages and benefits paid to an employee on contract termination.” The Act provides for severance pay in the following cases:

  • Termination of employment contract of a fixed duration: at least 25% of the employee’s basic pay earned during the contract period;
  • Termination of employment due to redundancy: 2 months’ basic pay for each completed year of service;
  • Employee’s death in service: 2 months’ basic pay for each completed year of service;
  • Medical discharge: at least 3 months’ basic pay for each completed year of service.

This includes base salary, dependents, benefits, taxes, social contributions, and payroll costs. Monthly or yearly calculation period. The average monthly wage in Zambia sits between ZMW 5,200 to ZMW 6,000, which is the equivalent of USD 300 to 350 USD. Salaries in Zambia also depend on the location and field of work. On average, male employees in Zambia earn 12% more than female employees across all sectors. On average, employees in Zambia receive a 5% salary increase every 28 months. The salary increase rates by experience level are as follows:

  • Junior: 3%–5%
  • Mid: 6%–9%
  • Senior: 10%–15%

Public sector employees in Zambia typically earn 17% more than their private sector counterparts across industries.

13th / 14th Month Salary: There is no legal obligation to pay the 13th or 14th month’s salary. According to the Labor Code, an employer must pay an employee gratuity of at least 25% of the base pay at the end of a long-term contract period.

Foreign nationals entering Zambia must have visas unless they are citizens of certain British Commonwealth countries or countries with which Zambia has signed a visa-waiver agreement, according to Zambian immigration law.

Types of Visas

There are two different ways to obtain a Zambian visa: at the Embassy of the Republic of Zambia or online through the eVisa program. The various types of visas are described below.

Single-Entry Visas: A single-entry visa entitles the holder to enter Zambia only once during the visa’s validity period. It cannot be used again after entry and exit. It is valid for up to 90 days from the date of issue but will expire after that time.

Double-Entry Visas: The holder of a double-entry visa may enter Zambia twice during the visa’s validity period. Once the visa has been used for 2 entries and 2 exits, it cannot be used again. The visa is valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.

Multiple-Entry Visas: A Multiple Entry Visa allows the holder to enter Zambia more than once during the visa’s validity period. Except for US citizens, who can hold multiple entry visas for up to three years and are issued through the e-visa facility, the visa is valid for 90 days.

Zambia Transit Visa: A transit visa is required for those traveling through Zambia by land. The visa is valid for a maximum of 7 days and can be obtained by anyone traveling to or from any Zambian region on their way to another country.

Zambia Day-Tripper Visa: Zambia Day-Tripper visa allows for a single entry for less than 24 hours. Currently only valid at the Kazungula (Botswana) and Victoria Falls borders ( Zimbabwe). Visitors must enter through the same port of entry and exit via the same point.

KAZA Uni-Visa: The KAZA Uni-Visa is a visa that is valid in both Zambia and Zimbabwe. It entitles the holder to travel between the two countries for a period of up to 30 days. The Kazua visa is only available to certain nationals; see below for more information.

Zambia eVisa: The eVisa is a 2017 online visa application system for citizens of most countries. With the eVisa, application, approval, and receipt of the visa can happen within a matter of days. It is a single-entry visa, which means travelers can only enter Zambia once, and it is valid for 90 days.

Visa Requirements Overview

Tourist Visa: Tourist are issued to foreign nationals intending to visit Zambia for recreational purposes, and it is valid for 90days. Documents required to obtain a tourist visa are;

  • Valid Passport
  • Completed Application Form
  • Passport size photographs
  • Proof of travel itinerary

Business Visa: Business visas are issued to foreign nationals intending to visit Zambia for business in the country without taking up employment. This is valid for up to a period of 30days. The obligatory documents needed to obtain a business visa are;

  • Valid passport
  • Completed application form
  • Passport size photographs
  • Proof of travel itinerary
  • Invitation letter

Work Permit: Foreign nationals must possess work permits to engage in paid employment with a Zambian employer. This is valid for 10 years maximum. The requirements to obtain a work permit in Zambia are;

  • Cover letter from the employer addressed to the Director General of Immigration
  • Application for an Employment Permit (Form 23)
  • Employment contract or letter of offer
  • Police clearance from country of residence
  • Curriculum vitae Registration certificate from the relevant professional body in Zambia (if required)
  • Certified copy of qualifications (academic and professional)
  • Copy of marriage and birth certificates (if available)
  • Certified copy of valid passport particulars (bio data and last endorsement stamp for Zambia)
  • Certified certificate of share capital and list of directors
  • Two recent passport-size photographs Prescribed fee

According to the legislation, these benefits are required. These consist of the probationary term, yearly leave, federal holidays, sick leave, maternity leave, overtime pay, notice period, and severance compensation. Social Security payouts are statutory benefits as well.

A typical workweek is 8 hours per day and no more than 48 hours per week, according to Zambian Labor Law. Working hours should not exceed 9 hours per day, accounting for lunch and prayer time.

Overtime hours are not legally restricted in Zambia. For overtime work performed outside of the standard workweek, however, a premium of at least 150% of the normal hourly wage rate is paid.

A contract of employment may be terminated in the manner specified in the contract of employment or in any other manner (as specified in the Employment Code Act), except that if an employer terminates the contract, the employer must provide the employee with reasons for the termination of the employee’s contract of employment.

Contract termination is not permitted unless there is a valid reason. Valid reasons include those related to an employee’s capacity or conduct, as well as those based on an undertaking’s operational requirements. A worker’s contract may not be terminated due to poor performance or conduct without first giving the employee an opportunity to be heard. A contract of employment expires:

  • at the end of the term for which it is expressed to be made
  • on the death of the employee before the end of the term specified in the contract
  • on the employee attaining the applicable retirement age, where the contract of employment is permanent in nature
  • or in any other manner in which a contract of employment lawfully expires or is deemed to expire.

A worker is entitled to termination notice or payment in lieu of notice, except in cases of gross misconduct. The notice period is generally specified under the employment contract. If it is not clearly provided under the contract of employment, the minimum duration is:

  • 24 hours for a contract of employment not exceeding one month;
  • 14 days for a contract of employment ranging between one to three months; and
  • 30 days for a contract of employment of more than three months.

The notice to terminate a contract of employment of more than six months shall be in writing.

Zambia has a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system for income from work, which means that income tax is taken out by the employer and sent to the Zambia Revenue Authority. In this instance, taxable income is comprised of profits from business activities, salary, annuities, dividends, interest, royalties, and rental income.

Zambian residents are also taxed on interest and dividends received from sources outside Zambia. Zambia has a source-based income taxation system under the Income Tax Act. Income deemed to be derived from Zambia is generally subject to Zambian income tax

The monthly tax rates for the year 2022 are as follows:

Taxable income (ZMW)               Rate of income tax (%)

Up to 4000                                                 0

4,001 to 4,800                                            25

4,801 to 6,900                                            30

Over 6,900                                                 37.5


Employers must match employees’ National Pension Scheme Authority (NPSA) contributions. Contributions are applicable to both foreign and local employees, with a maximum ceiling of ZMW 1,159.40 (ZMW 2,318.80 total) for the fiscal year 2021.

The National Health Insurance (NHI) Act requires both the employer and the employee to contribute 1% of the employee’s basic salary to the NHI Management Authority by the 10th of the month in question.

Contribution           National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA)  National Health Insurance

Employer                                                              5%                                           1%

Employee                                                              5%                                           1%

Employee Expenses         

An expense is deductible against taxable emoluments if it is incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of that source of income and is not capital in nature. This test is difficult to satisfy in practice where an expense is incurred by an employee. Capital allowances may be available in limited circumstances.

Personal Deductions

Alimony payments are not deductible. A payment to a public benefit organization that is approved by the Zambian government or owned by the Zambian government is deductible. The maximum amount deductible is 15% of taxable income. Mortgage interest is not deductible.

Standard Deductions

The first ZK 4000 are exempt from income tax. The aforementioned tax free amount constitutes standard deductions as it lowers an individual’s tax payment obligations.

Business Deductions

An expense is deductible against taxable emoluments if it is incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of that source of income and is not capital in nature. This test is difficult to satisfy in practice where an expense is incurred by an employee. Capital allowances may be available in limited circumstances.


A standard VAT of 16% is levied on standard-rated supplies of goods and services.

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