Working in Belize
A small country that has the lowest population density in all of Central America, the labor force of Belize is estimated at 120,500.
Foreign nationals hoping to land a job in Belize may find the process quite a challenging one. It is because the labor law of Belize is tailor-fitted for the employment of as many Belizeans as possible. This is the government’s way of protecting Belize’s local job market. It is, however, not impossible for expats to be employed in Belize. Some of the industries that foreign nationals can apply for in Belize are Teaching, Medicine, Construction, and Business Management. Tourism can also be an option, but this is mostly seasonal.
The current minimum salary in Belize is BZ$3.00 per hour for manual and domestic workers, while those employed in agriculture and agro-industry get BZ$2.50 per hour. Business process outsourcing (BPO) agents are given a beginning salary of about BZ$5 per hour, along with other benefits. Meanwhile, supervisors get approximately 35% to 50% more than a BPO agent. Minimum wages in Belize are set by the Ministry of Labor.
Unlike other countries, the working conditions in Belize are not as good. Due to the limited resources of the government, the right exercise of human rights and labor laws are almost always centred in the urban areas of the country.
The standard work week in Belize is 45 hours or six days a week, with paid overtime. All workers are entitled to a yearly paid vacation of two weeks. An employee who has worked for 60 days in a period of 12 months is entitled to sick leave of 16 days. Meanwhile, pregnant employees are given 30 days’ worth of sick leave for illnesses that are related to pregnancy.
In general, Belizean workers who earn less than BZ$20,000 a year or approximately US$10,000 a year are not subject to pay income tax. Everyone else who earns more than the said rate will be taxed 25% on their salary. For those employed by a company, tax payments are done using the PAYE system.
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