Written employment agreements are not necessary for permanent employment contracts. Labour laws only charge the employer to list an employee in company workbooks and with tax authorities, pay Social Security, and report taxes on all wages paid to the employee. However, when the employment contract is in writing, any modifications must be made in the same way.
Article 24 of the Labour Code prescribes the necessary elements required for employment contracts. These essential terms are:
- Names and surnames, nationality, age, sex, marital status, full addresses of the parties, and identification numbers of the parties involved.
- Service that the worker agrees to provide and the time and place in which it will be performed.
- Salary and payment conditions.
- Duration of the contract if it is of definitive duration (otherwise, it will be considered a contract of indeterminate duration).
- Any other stipulation that the parties have agreed upon and the signatures of both parties.
Article 90 of the Dominican Constitution establishes that Spanish is the official language of the country. Therefore, all employment contracts must be written or translated into Spanish to be enforceable.
The duration of an employment contract is considered indefinite, unless the nature of the services provided requires specific work or a fixed-term. If an employee works successively on defined terms for the same employer, this contract will be considered indefinite. The contract will also be considered indefinite if the employee continues to work for the employer after the termination of the services for which he was hired.
For a fixed-term contract or a contract for specific work, a written employment agreement is required. It is necessary as well to duly justify the execution of a fixed-term contract or an agreement for a particular job.
Finally, a temporary contract can be used when extraordinary and transitory demands or production needs are anticipated. However, a specific term cannot be foreseen for the termination of the contract.
A fixed-term contract will also occur when the relationship begins and ends with the execution of the work or the specific service for which the employee was hired. In those cases:
- there is no obligation to give any notice of termination;
- compensation (if any) should be paid when the contract ends;
- the law requires a written agreement;
- the employer must prove the contract’s temporary nature.
In the Dominican Republic, there is no specific trial period, but during the first three (3) months of employment, the contract can be terminated without imposing any obligations on the employer.
The party exercising the right of dismissal without cause must give advance notice to the other party, according to the following rules:
- after continuous work of no less than three months, nor more than six, a minimum of seven days of advance notice;
- after continuous work of more than six months and less than a year, a minimum of fourteen days of advance notice;
- after a year of continuous work, a minimum of twenty-eight days of advance notice.
The employer has the option to omit advance notice, in which case it must pay compensation in lieu of notice, for the amounts owed. It is customary for employers to choose this option and pay compensation, rather than give advance notice.
The employee must also give notice equal to that required by the employer, if the employee decides to terminate the contract without just cause.