At Work in Casablanca

Work Usage in Casablanca

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Morocco's labor force is rapidly expanding, though unemployment remains high. There is a lack of proper job training and secondary education, limiting what the local population can do. Illiteracy in Morocco is one of the highest in the Arab world.

Trade unions are important to the work environment in Morocco. Over 450,000 workers are unionized, mostly in the public sector. However, this is a diminished role since independence. Labor laws are meant to protect the rights of workers, but regulations are rarely enforced and working conditions are less than ideal. Strikes, slow-downs, and protests frequently disturb work life, paired with retribution from repressive governmental actions and police brutality.

Entitlement to Work

Technology, communications, and business experience are in high demand. To fill these positions, qualified professionals from human resources to marketing managers are being hired.

Business is usually conducted in French. Speaking the language is a valuable asset. English is also a plus and schools are often a place to find work.

Working Hours

Business hours are generally from 8:15 to 11:30 and 14:15 to 16:30 Monday to Friday. Despite the large Muslim population, a standard Saturday-Sunday weekend is observed. The work week is up to 44 hours.

During the month of Ramadan, hours of many stores are drastically shortened. This may be somewhat balanced by stores being open later into the evening.


The minimum salary is 10.81 MAD per hour for retail and industrial sectors. The minimum wage for agricultural workers is 52.50 dirhams per day.

International private companies, bilaterals and multilaterals pay on a scale close to the Western world, but smaller businesses and schools pay on a much lower level in line with Moroccan salary scale. An individual can live comfortably in Morocco on much less money than they typically make in their home country. An average salary for a family is about 6,000 - 9,000 USD per year.


An employment contract should be in writing and the employee should read and understand all conditions before signing. If it is in a language other than your mother tongue, you should allow a trusted advisor (like a lawyer or financial advisor) that is fluent in that language to inspect it.

An employment contract must specify the employer's and employee's names, the start date of the contract, the work to be performed and the remuneration to be paid in return. Other important provisions of a contract are the probation period, benefits, and the period of notice. In addition, employment contracts must not provide for immoral or illegal tasks.

Basic Types of Contracts

Individual Employment Contract - This is the typical contract in which an employee work for an employer for a consideration (pay). The contract is concerned with certain rights and obligations: the employee must perform the relevant work, while the employer must pay the employee's remuneration and social security contributions, allow the employee paid holidays, etc.

Collective Labour Agreement - Based on negotiations between unions and employers, it contains provisions on the conclusion, content and termination of individual employment contracts, the rights and obligations of the contracting parties and how the agreement itself shall be applied and monitored. In many cases a standard employment contract is also signed.

Probationary Period

It is common for a new employee to undergo a probationary period. During the probationary period, either party can terminate the contract at any time subject to seven days's notice. Exceptions are possible provided they are agreed on in a written agreement, a standard contract or a collective labor agreement. A probationary period should not exceed 6 months; 3 months for executives; 1.5 months for white collars; and 15 days for blue collar workers. This trial period can be renewed once.


After the probationary period, an employment contract may be terminated from the end of any month, subject to one month's notice in the first year of service, two months's notice from the second to the ninth years of service, and three months's notice thereafter. These periods may be amended by a written agreement, a standard contract or a collective labor agreement.

    Prohibited grounds for termination include:
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy
  • Maternity leave
  • Family responsibilities
  • Filing a complaint against the employer
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Political opinion
  • Social origin
  • Nationality
  • Trade union membership and activities
  • Disabilities

Time Off

Annual Leave

Employees are eligible for 24 days of holiday/vacation after one year of work. This minimum may be increased by contractual agreement.

Sick Leave

Most salaried workers and apprentices are eligible for sick leave with special systems for civil servants. The self-employed are not eligible.

To claim benefits, the insured must have at least 54 days of contributions in the previous six calendar months of coverage. Additional claims are only valid after at least six additional days of contributions. The benefit is about 66.7 percent of the average daily covered wage received during the six months before the incapacity. The benefit is paid from the fourth day of incapacity.

The fund is contributed to by the insured paying .33 percent of gross monthly earnings for sickness insurance, plus 2 percent for the basic health care system. Employers pay .67 percent of gross monthly payroll for sickness insurance, plus 3.5 percent for the basic health care system.

Maternity Leave

Maternity benefit is 100 percent of the average daily covered wage received in the six calendar months before the expected date of childbirth. This is paid for up to 14 weeks. The minimum benefit is 66.7 percent of the legal minimum wage.


There are 13 public holidays in which many companies, government offices and schools close for business. Since these holidays are marked by the lunar calendar, each year there is about a 12 day difference in the time the holiday occurs.

The biggest event on the Moroccan calendar is the month of Ramadan. Muslims fast during the day time and break the fast at sunset. Most restaurants are closed for lunch and things slow down. Find out about traveling and living in Morocco during Ramadan in the EasyExpat article "Respecting Ramadan as an Expat or Traveler".

Business Etiquette

Hshuma - The concept of shame is an important element in Moroccan culture. The most cherished possession is a person's honor and dignity which extends to their family. If someone is shamed, they may be ostracized by society, or even worse by their family. To avoid hshuma, many Moroccans will say or do things publicly because it makes them look good or helps them avoid embarrassment or awkwardness. In business, it is extremely important to verify anything that has been agreed to in front of others as it may not have been a sincere agreement and the person may have no intention of following through.

Meeting - Moroccans greet each other warmly and conversation includes topics about families and friends. Handshakes are the customary greeting between individuals of the same sex. Once a relationship has developed, it is common to kiss on both cheeks, starting with the left cheek while shaking hands, men with men and women with women. In greetings between men and women, the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should bow his head in greeting.

Companies are hierarchical. Elders are highly respected, as are the sick. If someone is older or handicapped, stop and allow room for them. Or if a taxi arrives and you are waiting with an older person, give them precedence. The highest ranking person makes decisions, but only after obtaining a group consensus.

Appointments are necessary and should be made far in advance and confirmed a day or two before the meeting. Avoid scheduling meetings during Ramadan and never try to schedule meetings on Friday between 11:15 and 15:00 as most companies close for prayers. Arrive at meetings on time and be prepared to wait. In general, Moroccans have an open-door policy, even during meetings.

Business attire is formal and conservative. Men should wear dark colored conservative business suits to the initial meeting. Women should wear elegant business suits, dresses or pantsuits that cover themselves appropriately. Skirts and dresses should cover the knee and sleeves should cover most of the arm.

Update 10/01/2012


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