Belize is a Caribbean country located in Central America, and is considered a tax haven for international investors. About 90% of businesses in Belize are small businesses, and the country’s is the only one in Central American where English is the main language (making it an attractive place to hire talent from). The employer tax rates vary depending on the employee’s income and range from 5%-8.13% on the employer side.
Pregnant women in Belize who have worked at your company for at least 150 days are eligible for 14 weeks of paid maternity leave. This leave is broken up as 7 weeks before the birth and 7 weeks after the birth. The maternity leave pay is calculated at 80% of the salary, with a minimum of 44 BZD and a max of 384 BZD per week. There is no statutory paternity leave.
Once an employee has worked at a company for 60 days they are entitled to 16 days of paid sick leave (as long as there is proof from a medical professional). The first 3 days are paid for by the employer and the last 13 are paid for by social security. If the social security payment doesn’t cover the employee’s wages completely, the employer is responsible for making up the difference in payment.
There are 13 public holidays in Belize. Employees who have worked at a company for one year are also entitled to 2 weeks of paid time off, which must be taken in 1 or 2 periods.
The national minimum hourly wage in Belize is $5 BZD, as of July 2022.
The standard workweek in Belize is 45 hours at 9 hours per day, with all workers entitled to at least 1 day of rest each week. Any time worked over 9 hours in a day is due overtime pay at 150% of the regular rate.
If an employee has to work on a public holiday or rest day they must be paid at 150% of the regular rate. If the employee has to work on Christmas Day, Good Friday, or Easter Monday, they must be paid at a minimum of 200% of the regular rate.
The termination process in Belize requires a notice period there is sufficient cause for dismissal due to misconduct, neglect of duties, lack of skill, or absence without permission.
The length of notice depends on the length of employment:
Severance pay for the termination of an employee is calculated based on the employee’s time at the company. The worker shall be paid a severance of 2 weeks of wages per year of service.
★ 5%-8.13% - Social Security
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Unlike full-time employees, contractors work on projects with multiple companies at a given time and are technically self-employed. Full-time employees are solely focused on their employer and usually receive benefits (such as health insurance, equity or stock options, and time off) as an additional form of compensation. While it can be cheaper to work with international contractors instead of paying benefits to a full-time employee, you run the risk of misclassification. It's recommended to work with an EOR for contractor onboarding and payments, so you can know that your international contractors are paid compliantly and on time.