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Zambia Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off, Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, and Voting Leave

Table Of Contents

Last updated on May 9, 2024.

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Zambia

Vacation (Annual Leave) Quota

24 days

Full-time employees in Zambia are entitled to 24 days of paid vacation (annual leave) per year. Employees become entitled to partial vacation after 6 months of continuous service at the company. After the full year of service, they become entitled to regular full entitlement. Therefore, in the second year of employment, they start accruing 2 days of annual leave per month, leading to their full entitlement of 24 days (12 x 2) per year.

Part-time workers are entitled to paid vacation, which is calculated based on the number of hours they work each month.

Annual leave is separate from any public holidays or regular days off like weekends (which are set by law, agreements, or customary practices) and on which the employee is not required to work according to their employment contract.

The timing and schedule of annual leave are decided through a mutual agreement between the employer and the employee.

Payment of Unused Vacation on Termination

If an employment contract ends for reasons other than the employee’s resignation or immediate dismissal, and before the employee has earned their entitled vacation, they are eligible to receive 2 days of full pay for each month of work they completed. Therefore, all unused vacation days must be paid out upon termination.

Sick Leave in Zambia

Up to 6 months.

Employees in Zambia are entitled to sick leave ranging from 52 days to 6 months, depending on the duration and type of their employment contract.

Employees who have worked for at least 12 months are eligible for paid sick leave for up to 6 months:

  • paid at a rate of 100% for the first 3 months
  • paid at a rate of 50% for the remaining 3 months.

Employees on shorter-term contracts are entitled to up to 52 days of sick leave:

  • paid at a rate of 100% for the first 26 days;
  • paid at a rate of 50% for the remaining 26 days.

Starting from the second day of absence caused by an illness, employees must provide a medical certificate.


Sick leave is paid by the employer.

Family Responsibility Leave

7 days per year.

Employees who have worked for at least six months are entitled to 7 working days of partially paid family leave per year to attend to the needs of a sick child, a dependent, or a spouse.


Family responsibility leave is paid by the employer.

An employee receives 100% of the regular salary for 3 out of the 7 days of leave.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Maternity Leave in Zambia

14 weeks

A pregnant employee in Zambia is entitled to 14 weeks of regular maternity leave. They must take at least 6 weeks of this leave after the child’s birth. If there are multiple births, maternity leave is extended up to 18 weeks. If a female employee becomes temporarily unable to perform her duties due to a pregnancy-related illness, she may take sick leave.

Rights and Obligations

To be eligible for maternity leave, an employee must have worked at the company for at least 6 months. Also, a medical certificate must be presented, signed by a medical practitioner.

It is prohibited for an employer to terminate, penalize, or otherwise disadvantage a female employee for reasons related to her pregnancy. After the end of regular maternity leave, an employee keeps the right to return to her original job (or to a reasonably similar position).

Nursing Breaks

Upon returning to work, an employee is entitled to breaks included within their working hours in one of the two following ways:

  • two breaks for nursing each day, lasting 30 minutes each,


  • a single one-hour break.


Maternity leave is paid by the employer at a rate of 100% of the regular salary.

However, an employee must have 2 years of service in the company to be entitled to this pay.

Paternity Leave in Zambia

5 days

An employee in Zambia receives 5 working days of paternity leave upon becoming a father. This leave must be used within the first seven days following the birth of a child.


Paternity leave is paid by the employer.

To be eligible for paid paternity leave, an employee must have 12 months of service at the employer.

Parental Leave in Zambia

In Zambia, there is no specific legislation addressing parental leave, which typically exists in most countries’ leave laws.

Bereavement Leave in Zambia

Up to 12 days.

Employees are eligible for 12 days of paid compassionate leave in the unfortunate event of the death of a parent, a spouse, a dependent, or a child. This leave cannot be carried over to the next year.

A compassionate leave may also be taken for certain other personal needs of the employee.


Compassionate (bereavement) leave is paid by the employer.

Jury Duty Leave in Zambia

Jury duty leave is not specified by law.

Military Leave in Zambia

Military leave is not specified by law.

Voting Leave in Zambia

Voting leave is not specified by law.

Public Holidays in Zambia for 2024

Public holidays that fall on a Sunday are observed on the following Monday.

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
March 8 International Women’s Day
March 12 Youth Day
March 29 Good Friday
March 30 Easter Saturday
April 1 Easter Monday
April 28 Kenneth Kaunda Brithday
May 1 Labor Day
May 25 Africa Day
Jul 1 (First Monday in July) Heroes’ Day
Jul 2 (Tuesday after Heroes’ Day) Unity Day
August 5 (First Monday in August) Farmers’ Day
October 18 Prayer Day
October 24 Independence Day
December 25 Christmas


  1. Local Laws & Regulations, https://www.atlashxm.com/en/countries/zambia

  2. Payroll and Benefits Guide Zambia, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/zambia/

  3. Definitive Guide to Hiring in Zambia, https://www.globalexpansion.com/countrypedia/Zambia

  4. REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA - THE EMPLOYMENT ACT, https://www.parliament.gov.zm/sites/default/files/documents/acts/Employment%20Act.pdf

  5. Family Responsibilities, https://mywage.org/zambia/decent-work/family-responsibilities

Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

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