At Work in Cairo

Unemployment Benefits in Cairo

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Unemployment has been a major problem in Egypt and a factor in the springtime rebellion. Total unemployment in Egypt in 1960 was less than 200,000, but by 1986 this figure was more than two million. The current unemployment rate is around 9 percent with the youth population being the most heavily impacted.

Job opportunities have grown at a slow rate. Labor is unevenly distributed and Egyptian graduates often wait more than five years to become employed by the labor force administration. It is believed that a third to half of the working population is at least underemployed.

Unemployment is governed by the Ministry of Manpower and Emigration.


Employed persons in the public and private sectors are provided for with unemployment benefits. However, this excludes:

  • Temporary, seasonal, and casual workers
  • Domestic servants
  • Family labor
  • Civil servants
  • Employees older than 60 years of age
  • Self-employed
  • Artisans
In addition, the claimant must have at least 6 months of contributions, including the 3 consecutive months before unemployment. The insured must be able and willing to work and registered with the manpower office. Unemployment must not be the result of voluntary leave, misconduct, or the refusal of training or a suitable job offer.


Employers contribute 26 percent on basic salary, 24 percent on variable salary percent of payroll to fund unemployment benefits. The Government is tasked with covering any deficit.


The benefit is equal to 60 percent of the insured's last monthly wage and is paid after a 7-day waiting period for up to 16 weeks. It may be extended to 28 weeks if contributions have been paid for the last 24 months.

Update 4/12/2011


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