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Last updated at December 15, 2023
Sailboats travels past Stocking Island, Exuma, in the Bahamas

Currency of Bahamas

Bahamian Dollar (BSD)

The Capital of Bahamas

Nassau

Time Zone in Bahamas

EST

Important Facts About the Country of The Bahamas

Introduction to Bahamas

The Bahamas, a stunning island nation situated in the Atlantic Ocean, consists of 700 islands, more than 2,000 rocks and cays and has its capital in Nassau. Home to about 400,000 people, the Bahamas is renowned as a favored tourist spot and sustains a flourishing economy propelled largely by tourism, financial services and international trade.

What to Know about Bahamas's Geography

The Bahamas is positioned in the Caribbean Sea, just southeast of the United States. Comprised of islands, cays and rocks, the island nation spans a total land area of 10,010 square kilometers. Geographically, the country lies to the east of Florida in the United States, to the north of Cuba and the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and to the west of the British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Climate in Bahamas

The Bahamas enjoys a consistent tropical climate, maintaining temperatures that typically fluctuate between 20°C and 30°C (68°F and 86°F) throughout the year. The country experiences two distinct seasons: summer spans from May to October while winter goes from November through April. On average, the Bahamas receives around 50 inches of rainfall annually, with the wettest months occurring from May to October.

The Culture of Bahamas

The Bahamas boasts a vibrant and distinctive culture, influenced by its rich history and geographical location. One of its notable cultural events is the Junkanoo festival, a lively street parade held on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. This festival showcases captivating displays of vibrant costumes, rhythmic music and energetic dance performances. Bahamian cuisine is renowned for its delectable seafood dishes, with specialties such as conch, lobster and various types of fish gaining worldwide recognition.

Religions Observed in Bahamas

The Bahamas is primarily a Christian nation, with approximately 95% of its population adhering to the Christian faith. Among Christians in the country, the majority identify as Protestants, with prominent denominations including Baptists and Anglicans. Additionally, there are smaller communities of Roman Catholics and Seventh-day Adventists present in the Bahamas. In addition to Christianity, the country also has diverse religious communities, including Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, among others. Therefore, the religious landscape of the Bahamas is rich and varied.

Languages Spoken in Bahamas

English serves as the official language of the Bahamas and is spoken by nearly all Bahamians. However, in addition to English, other languages are also spoken in the country, such as Creole and Spanish.

Bahamas Human Resources at a Glance

Employment Law Protections in the Bahamas

The primary legislation that governs employment relationships in the Bahamas is the Employment Act 2001. This Act establishes the minimum standards for employment within the country. Additionally, there are other key legal sources that also play a role in shaping employment regulations:

  • Minimum Wage Act
  • Industrial Relations Act
  • Health and Safety at Work Act

Employment Contracts in the Bahamas

In the Bahamas, it is not mandatory for an employment contract to be in written form. It can be verbal or written and may contain both express and inferred terms. However, according to the Employment Act, certain terms of employment must be communicated to an employee promptly after they commence work. These agreements can be documented in writing and should include the following details:

  • The name of the employer or group of employers as well as, if possible, the location of employment
  • The employee’s name, the location where the person was employed to work and, where possible, the employee’s place of origin (as well as any other information required for identification)
  • The nature of the employment
  • Specification if a person is engaged for a fixed period or, in appropriate circumstances, the duration of the employment and the method of calculating the duration
  • The rate of wages and other benefits (as well as the method of calculating them), the manner and payment period of wages and other benefits (if any) and the method of repaying any such advances
  • If work is performed by time, the number of working hours per day, as well as when the work begins and ends
  • The minimum wage (which, within the Bahamas, is $260 per week)

Contract Terms in Bahamas

The Employment Act does not explicitly prescribe specific terms for employment contracts. However, it is common practice for employers to utilize fixed-term contracts in many instances.

Bahamas's Guidelines Regarding Probation Period/Trial Period

The Employment Act in the Bahamas does not contain specific statutory regulations regarding probation periods. However, certain collective agreements may include provisions that establish a probation period of 12 months.

Regulations and Rules Regarding Working Hours in Bahamas

In the Bahamas, the standard working hours typically consist of eight hours per day or 40 hours per week.

Bahamas Laws Regarding Overtime

If an employee is required to work more than the standard hours of work, he or she is entitled to an overtime rate of wages not less than:

  • twice the regular rate of wages for overtime work on any public holiday or day off; or
  • one and half times the regular rate of wages in all other cases

Bahamas Timesheets & Record Keeping

Employers must maintain a register of salary payments and accounts for each employee. This record should be retained for a period of three years.

Termination

In the Bahamas, employers have the flexibility to dismiss an employee without cause or terminate the employee by providing notice or pay in lieu of notice. If an employer has a valid cause to dismiss an employee, they are only obliged to compensate the employee for unused vacation time and hours actually worked. According to the Employment Act, an employer may terminate an employee “without pay or notice when the employee has committed a fundamental breach of their employment contract or has acted in a manner repugnant to the fundamental interests of the employer.”

In cases of termination with notice, the employer must provide compensation in line with the employment contract or the Employment Act. The minimum notice period is determined based on the employee’s position and length of service.

Under Bahamian law, employees are safeguarded against dismissal if the employer’s justification for terminating employment falls into one of the following categories:

  • Membership in a trade union
  • Pregnancy
  • Participation in a strike

Bahamas's Requirements Regarding Notice Periods

When an employer terminates an employee in the Bahamas, specific minimum notice periods or payment in lieu must be followed. The requirements are as follows:

For employees in supervisory or managerial positions: One month’s notice or one month’s basic pay in lieu of notice

For employees in non-supervisory positions:

  • If employed for six months but less than one year: One week’s notice or one week’s basic pay in lieu of notice
  • If employed for 12 months or more: Two weeks’ notice or two weeks’ basic pay in lieu of notice

Redundancy/Severance Pay in Bahamas

In situations of redundancy, employers in the Bahamas are required to offer severance pay to employees. For individuals in a supervisory or managerial role, the minimum severance pay must be equivalent to one month’s salary for each year of service, up to a maximum of 48 weeks. This is calculated on a pro-rata basis.

For employees in non-supervisory positions, the calculation of severance pay is as follows:

  • If employed for more than six months but less than one year: one week’s severance pay on a pro-rata basis, for the period between the six months to one year of employment
  • If employed at least one year: two weeks’ severance pay for each year of employment, up to a maximum of 24 weeks’ pay on a pro-rata basis

Data Protection

The Bahamas holds the distinction of being one of the pioneering Caribbean nations to enact the Data Protection Act, 2003 (DPA), which regulates the processing of personal data across both public and private sectors. According to the DPA, organizations are required to obtain explicit consent in order to collect, process and store personal data.

Tax and Social Security Information for Employers in The Bahamas

Personal Income Tax in The Bahamas

There is no personal income tax in the Bahamas.

Social Security in The Bahamas

In the Bahamas, every employed individual is obligated to make contributions to the National Insurance Board (NIB). These contributions are deducted from their wages by their employer or paid directly if they are self-employed. Contributions are mandatory for each “contribution week,” a seven-day period from Monday to Sunday. The payable amount is determined based on the wages earned during that week but only up to the insurable ceiling, which is presently set at 740 BSD. Contributions should be made on a monthly basis and must reach the Board no later than the 15th day of the following month.

In this context, “wages” encompass basic pay (including pay in lieu of notice) and formally paid tips/gratuities. However, bonuses, overtime pay and severance pay are not considered as wages.

The contribution rates are 3.9% for the employee and 5.9% for the employer.

Contributions must be deducted from the employee’s wages starting from the first salary payment, including during the probationary period. Contributions not deducted when due cannot be recovered from the employee’s future earnings. Any outstanding arrears are the sole responsibility of the employer to pay.

*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged will differ.

 

Important Information for Bahamas Employees

Salary Payment

According to the Employment Act, employees in the Bahamas must receive payment at least once per month. The salary should be provided in the currency of the Bahamas and not in any other form.

Salaries are to be disbursed on working days exclusively and can be made through cash, check or by depositing the amount into the employee’s bank account.

Payslip

Employers must furnish employees with a written pay slip at the time of salary payment. The pay slip should contain the following information:

  • The period for which the salary payment is made
  • The number of hours for which payment is made
  • The rates of salary
  • Details of any deductions made from the salary
  • The actual sum paid to the employee

Annual Leave

Every employer is obligated to provide their employees with a minimum of two weeks of vacation after each 12 months of employment. If any public holidays occur during the vacation period, an additional day will be added to the vacation for each holiday.

The vacation pay is calculated based on the employee’s basic pay earned during the employment year in which they are entitled to take their vacation:

  • For employees employed for less than a year: one week’s basic pay
  • For employees employed for one to seven years: two weeks’ basic pay
  • For employees employed for seven years or more: three weeks’ basic pay

The employer must remunerate the employee with vacation pay at least one day prior to the commencement of the vacation period.

If an employee’s employment terminates before completing a full year, the employer is required to provide vacation pay on a pro-rata basis. However, it’s important to note vacation pay is not required for employees who have not been continuously employed for a minimum of 90 days.

Sick Leave

Employees who have been employed for a minimum of six months are eligible for one week of paid sick leave per year. It is important to note sick leave cannot be carried over from one year to the next. However, if the sick leave is only for a single day, it will not be paid.

For sick leave, except for the first day, the employee is required to provide the employer with a medical certificate as proof.

Family Leave

Employees who have completed at least six months of service are eligible for one week of unpaid family leave each year. This leave can be taken in situations such as the birth of a child, or in the event of the death or illness of a child, spouse or parent.

To request the family leave, the employee is required to provide evidence of the birth, death or illness to the employer as supporting documentation.

Maternity & Parental Leave

Female employees who have completed at least one year of service are granted a period of 12 weeks of paid maternity leave every three years. To avail this leave, the employee must provide her employer with a medical certificate specifying the anticipated delivery date. Out of the 12 weeks, a minimum of one week should be taken prior to the delivery date, while a minimum of eight weeks should be taken after the delivery.

In cases where the employee experiences a pregnancy-related illness, she is entitled to an additional six weeks of unpaid leave.

Public Holidays

There are 12 public holidays observed every year in the Bahamas.

Benefits to the Employee in The Bahamas

Bahamas Statutory Benefits

Employees in the Bahamas enjoy several statutory benefits, which include social security insurance encompassing coverage for sickness, maternity, unemployment, disability, death, injury and survivorship. Alongside these benefits, employees are entitled to specific types of leave as prescribed by law, including annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave and family leave.

Other Benefits

In addition to the minimum benefits required by law, employers in the Bahamas frequently offer supplementary benefits to their employees. These additional benefits may include bonuses, private health insurance, life insurance, various allowances, as well as extended or additional leave days.

Rules Regarding Visas and Foreign Workers in The Bahamas

General Information

The Bahamas implements a visa-free policy for citizens of over 100 countries – including the United States, Canada and European Union member states – permitting stays of up to 90 days. However, individuals from other countries are required to obtain a visa to enter the country. The Bahamas offers various visa types, such as tourist, business and student visas.

Tourist visas can be extended for a maximum of 90 days, allowing for a total stay of up to 180 days. Business visas allow multiple entries for up to one year and are suitable for individuals engaged in business-related activities. Student visas remain valid for the duration of the study program.

For individuals seeking employment in the Bahamas, two types of work permits are available: short-term and long-term. The short-term work permit grants foreign nationals the ability to work in the Bahamas for up to 90 days. The long-term work permit is intended for individuals planning to work for more than three months.

The employer is responsible for applying for the work permit on behalf of the foreign employee and must submit the required documentation to the Department of Immigration. Prior to applying for a work permit, the employer must advertise the job for at least two weeks in the local market, allowing Bahamians the opportunity to apply for the position.

Public Holidays Recognized by The Bahamas in 2024

  Occasion Date
1 New Year’s Day January 1
2 Majority Rule Day January 10
3 Good Friday March 29
4 Easter Monday April 1
5 Whit Monday May 20
6 Sir Randol Fawkes Day June 7
7 Independence Day July 10
8 Emancipation Day August 5
9 National Heroes Day October 14
10 Christmas Day December 25
11 Boxing Day December 26

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