If your employer does provide you with a contract, it should be available in both English and Arabic. Important stipulations should include:
- Name of the employer and address of the workplace
- Name of the employee, his positions, qualifications and social security number
- Nature of the employee’s work and responsibilities
- Wages and the timing of wage payment
- If there is a probationary period, its length should be specified (and should not exceed three months)
Most employment contracts are valid for an initial period of five years. If employment lasts longer than five years, the employee has the right to terminate it at any time, provided he gives his employer fair notice (which should be specified in the contract). Early termination disqualifies the employee from severance benefits, however.
Ending your employment in Egypt
An employer is not allowed to dismiss an employee without a formal hearing before a committee of the Ministry of Manpower and Training, and even if the committee approves the employee’s dismissal he may challenge it in front of a labor court.
As an employee, your employer is obligated to give you notice of dismissal 60 days before you are dismissed (if you have been employed less than 10 years, 90 days if longer). An employer may terminate your employment without this notice period, but only if he compensates you monetarily for the notification period.
You may be dismissed without prior notice if your contract expires, if you tender a letter of resignation or if you are rendered unable to perform your responsibilities (i.e. through injury).
A note on working without a contract
As with work visas, employers may take liberties with what is considered an absolute requirement in most other countries. There are a number of reasons for this: some employers prefer to shield you from the Egyptian government’s 20% flat income tax, others want to avoid the hassle of proving to HR or the government why they need a foreign worker for the position and still more simply lose the document in the shuffle.
In general, try and get a contract from your employer. If it’s not possible, make a judgment based on your gut feeling. If you get the persistent sense that someone is out to scam you, he probably is.