Ghana Country Facts

We provide comprehensive information regarding, Culture, Work life, Taxation, Visa’s & immigration, Labour Law, recruiting in your country of choice and employment contracts.

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Expanding into Ghana generally comes with challenges, however, partnering with us and using Employer of Record (EOR) eliminates the frustrations you could encounter.

What types of Work Visas and Permits for Ghana are there?

To enter the country for tourism, as a student, for business or for employment requires the appropriate visa – single or multi-entry. By the end of 2022, an e-Visa should have been available to all foreigners through the diplomatic missions’ online portals.

Most African and some Caribbean countries’ nationals are exempt from the entry visa or can apply for a Visa on Arrival (for 30 days). Some African Union nationals receive a visa stamp when they arrive. However, all potential employees require a work permit for employment and a residence permit.


Nearly 190 countries’ nationals can acquire an entry visa from a local Ghana embassy or consulate, but this does not give the holder an automatic right of entry and is ‘subject to regularisation’ to give the authorities time to check applicants. The entry legalities come under the Immigration Act of 2000 and the Immigration Regulations of 2001.

Those foreigners entering the country must have a valid passport (six months) or similar, plus valid visa. There are circumstances when those arriving without a visa can receive one under the Immigration Regulations, such as when there are no diplomatic missions in their country of residence or in the vicinity.

There are two categories of Ghanaian visas:

  • Visas issued outside Ghana – from consulates / embassies. Single or multiple trips. Valid from three months to one year. Allows stays up to 90 days but can be extended once inside Ghana.
  • Tourism Visa
  • Business Visa
  • Study Visa
  • Employment/Temporary Workers’ Visa
  • Family Visas
  • Transit Visa

Plus: Crew Visa, for Diplomats, International Organisations, Journalists, Exchange Students and Scholars

Visas issued inside Ghana – from the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS)

  • Transit Visa
  • Emergency Entry Visas (on arrival)
  • Re-entry Visas
  • Extension of Visitor’s Visa

Those nationals who are visa-exempt can also include business visitors, and depending on bi- or multinational agreements can stay for periods between 60 and 90 days. Activities include conventions, conferences, training, auditing, and scientific purposes. There are no special arrangements for business visitors, with or without a visa, to work or provide ‘paid-for’ services.

List of countries that are exempt and those requiring visas:

Note: There are no visas for temporary work. Companies have to apply for a short- or long-term work permit and residence permit.

Applying for the Work Visas and Work Permits for Ghana

The main route into the work force is through the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). Documentation is mostly completed by the employer, but both parties provide relevant paperwork. Applying for an immigrant quota work permit through the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) has similar steps and documents.

Visas and permits required

  • Entry Visa / Employment Visa from consulate or embassy abroad applied for by the employee
  • Work Permit through the GIS applied for by the employer
  • Residence Permit applied for by the employer

Also, the Non-citizen Ghana Identification Card, which is the Foreigners Identification Management System, is applied for by the employee after arriving in Ghana and is required to finalise the work permit and residence permit as well as open a bank account, buy a SIM Card etc.

Steps to employment

  • Employers must put the details of employment into a contract or job offer letter, including start date, duration, position, duties, salary and benefits, as the sponsoring employer. Both have to sign
  • The employer starts the Work Permit and Residence Permit process with the GIS. Documents are supplied by the employee and sponsoring company
  • When approved by GIS, the employee applies for an Entry Visa for work purposes via the e-Visa system through an embassy or consulate in country of residence – supposedly operational by Ghana Immigration Service at end of 2022, doing away with physical stamps
    Emergency Entry Visas (EEV) can be issued on arrival if there is no embassy near the employee or in country of residence. The employer applies for this in Ghana with the GIS before the employee arrives
  • The employee must apply for a police report of good conduct before leaving the country, it is required for the work/residence permits. They may be required to send it to the employer
  • A Yellow Fever Certificate is required which may also have to be forwarded to employer
  • When permits and visa are approved, the employee can enter Ghana. If on an EEV, this can be collected ‘On Arrival’ at immigration
  • The employee applies for the Non-citizen Identification Card for the work/residence permit
  • They have to undergo a medical check-up at a GIS Clinic before permits are issued
  • Once the Work and Residence Permit are issued, the employee can start work

Requirements for Entry Visa

  • Employees should be legal residents in the country they apply from
  • Completed and signed downloaded application form
  • Recent colour passport photographs, no older than three months when applying, to be uploaded before submitting the application
  • Funds to show employees can support themselves
  • Passport valid for six months
  • Old passport (if available) submitted with new passport
  • Return ticket and itinerary showing date of departure
  • All details of applicant including residence when in Ghana
  • Letter from employer inviting them to Ghana
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Proof of granted employment quota
  • Employment contract with details such as position, salary, duration, benefits
  • Yellow Fever vaccination
  • Reference from businesses associates / employer

Requirements for Work Permit

This document includes name of employer and the employee permitted to work and only in the specified position and company. When applying, the documentation relates to the company, employee, and work contract details.

  • Application letter for the work permit, from employer on their company letter-headed paper
  • Application form completed
  • Company/employer registration and incorporation certificates
  • Company commencement certificate and company code
  • Previous year’s audited accounts if not a newly established company
  • Tax clearance certificate
  • Company’s annual report if available
  • Certificate from Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) if applicable
  • Letter of support from the Ministry or department or agency
  • Valid passport bio page
  • Two recent photographs along passport guidelines
  • Police report of good conduct from home country or current residence
  • Non-citizen Identification Card from NIA office
  • Academic qualifications/technical certificates for the position, and recent Curriculum Vitae
  • Passport and residence of employer
  • Medical check-up from Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Clinic (Accra)
  • Employment contract / job offer signed by both parties

The company presents the documentation to the GIS through an appointed and authorised representative of the company who signs the application and provides a valid ID. Check to see if more documents are required. A copy of the work permit is then needed to apply for the Residence Permit.

Requirements for Residence Permit

After work permit approval, the employer applies to the GIS on behalf of the employee. Many of the documents may already be with the GIS from the work permit application.

  • Application letter from employer on their company letter-headed paper
  • Application form for residence permit duly completed
  • Two recent colour photographs along passport guidelines
  • Copy of employee’s Non-citizen Identification Card
  • Valid passport
  • Work permit approval or Automatic Quota permit
  • Latest tax clearance certificate, unless for a new company
  • Letters of support from the relevant Ministry
  • Police report of good conduct from country of residence
  • Medical check-up certificate from the GIS Clinic
  • Business registration, certificate of incorporation, company code, commencement of business certificate
  • Signed employment contract or job offer and acceptance letter

Note: Companies located in Free Zones (FZ) with Ghana Free Zone Board (GFZB) approval need extra documentation to secure Work and Residence Permits for foreign workers e.g.:

  • A Free Zone form and covering letter
  • An Enterprise Licence for the FZs
  • A Security Bond (Form I)
  • A Guarantee Letter (Form J)

Non-Citizen Identification Card

Process for obtaining an ID Card which contains a serial number and PIN number (Personal Identification Number).

  • Download an application form from:
  • Purchase a scratch card which is the accepted payment method for the ID Card
  • Applicants can submit any or all of the following – Passport, official birth certificate or a residence permit at the registration centre along with the application form
  • Form is completed and submitted along with the scratch card when the biometrics are taken, along with an electronic signature
  • Once validated, the information is embedded in the card and is issued immediately

Overview of Taxes in Ghana

Figures are given in Ghanaian cedi (GHS) with euro and US dollar equivalents.

  • Personal Income Tax: Residents are taxed at rates ranging from 0% up to GHS 4,380 (€335, US$360), through five further bands up to 30% for excess over GHS 240,000 (€18,390, US$19,680). Non-residents are generally taxed at a flat rate of 25% on all their income
  • Value Added Tax (VAT): A standard rate of 12.5%; 3% for supplies of a wholesaler or retailer of goods
  • Corporate Income Tax (CIT): The general rate is 25%. Mining and upstream companies pay CIT at 35%, while those engaged principally in the hotel sector pay 22%
  • National Fiscal Stabilisation Levy (NFSL): 5% on profits on companies in specific sectors such as banking, insurance, telecoms, breweries, mining and shipping
  • Communications and Services Tax (CST): 5% on both companies and individual users of electronic communications services
  • Withholding Tax (WHT): Applies at rates up to 20% for both residents and non-residents on over 20 categories. Dividends are subject to a final WHT of 8% to both residents and non-residents, in the latter case dependent on any double tax treaties
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): Taxed as part of residents’ graduated tax liability and generally at flat rate of 25% for non-residents, or 15% in certain circumstances
  • Customs and Excise Duties: Customs duties apply at various rates on such as alcohol, with 175% applying to cigars, cigarettes and other tobacco products
  • Other Levies: National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) 2.5%; Ghana Education Trust Fund Levy 2.5%; COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy (CHRL) 1% charged on supply of goods and services in Ghana; importation of goods and imported services. Stamp duty applies between 0.25% and 1%

Personal Income Tax in Ghana

Figures are in Ghanaian cedi (GHS) with euro and US dollar equivalents.

Personal income tax for residents

Income | Tax on Excess
Up to GHS 4,380 (€335, US$360) | 0%
Next GHS 1,320 (€101, US$108) | 5%
Next GHS 1,560 (€119, US$128) | 10%
Next GHS 36,000 (€2,758, US$2,952) | 17.5%
Next GHS 196,740 (€15,075, US$16,132) | 25%
More than GHS 240,000 (€18,390, US$19,680) | 30%

Non-residents are generally taxed at a flat rate of 25%, although 15% can apply in some circumstances.

Individual Tax Rules in Ghana

  • The tax year is always the calendar year
  • Residents are taxed on all worldwide income from employment, business or investments
  • Individual employees are also taxed on non-cash benefits such as use of motor vehicles, furnishing and fittings and accommodation, based on the value of the benefit at the time of use
  • Joint returns for spouses are not permitted
  • Employers must file individuals’ PAYE returns within 15 days of the end of the month and remit due taxes to the Ghana Revenue Authority by the same date
  • Employers must file annual returns for all their individual employees by March 31 following the assessment year; any outstanding payments must be made by the same date
  • Individuals are considered to be tax residents if they are present in Ghana for a total of 183 days in a tax year; a Ghanaian citizen who is absent from Ghana for not more than 365 days but still has a permanent home in the country is a tax resident

Employers’ and Employees’ Social Security and Statutory Contributions in Ghana

There is a three-tier system with employer and employee (deducted and remitted by their employer) contributions made to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), administered by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). The third tier is voluntary.

Foreign companies often consider setting up a subsidiary when they are expanding their global reach to explore fresh economic opportunities. If the target territory is the Republic of Ghana they must establish a subsidiary in order to recruit staff and then operate their payroll.

Ghana is outside the world’s top 70 nations on Gross Domestic Product, but is the tenth-largest on the African continent and identified by the World Bank as an up-and-coming economy, despite concerns over inflation and public debt. The government’s drive towards diversification, industrialisation and a growing e-commerce footprint is underpinned by natural resources of oil, natural gas, gold and cocoa.

The usual choice for a subsidiary is a private limited company. The incorporation process must comply with the Companies Act (2019), and is carried out through the office of the Registrar-General of Companies. Incoming businesses face issues involving hiring and onboarding employees, running payroll and complying with tax laws and employment legislation. Coping with this long list is time consuming and risks diverting the focus away from building your business in Ghana.

There is a better choice … you could take a faster route into the Ghanaian economy without opening a subsidiary. Bradford Jacobs has the expertise to remove these potential obstacles. Our Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) specialists and Employer of Record (EOR) consultants will point you in the right direction – from recruiting the staff to managing every legal aspect of compliance. Instead of waiting weeks or months, you can be up-and-running in days … and your staff are always under your day-to-day control.

How to set up a Ghana Subsidiary

These apply to a foreign parent company opening a private limited liability company to comply with the Companies Act. Incorporation procedures include:

  • To comply with the Registration of Business Names Act, verify and register the unique company name with the Registrar-General to receive the Subsidiary Name Registration Certificate. The agreed name must include the suffix ‘Ltd’
  • Register the type of business operation with the Registrar-General
  • Obtain a Tax Identification Number from the Registrar-General or the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and register company with the GRA for paying taxes
  • A Commissioner for Oaths must witness and notarise the completed Company Registration Form 3 for the Registrar-General
  • The subsidiary must have between two and 50 members/shareholders; two directors, at least one a Ghana resident, all registered with the Registrar-General
  • Register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to receive the Investment Certificate
  • Register with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for contributions to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT)
  • Apply for a business licence from the relevant Metropolitan Authority, which will subsequently inspect the business premises
  • The company can commence business once all documents and verifications have been submitted to the Registrar-General office, which then issues the Certificate of Incorporation; a certified copy of the Registered Company Constitution; a certified copy of Form 3

What are the Benefits of setting up a Subsidiary in Ghana?

The subsidiary operates in Ghana as a separate and independent legal entity from the parent company, which is generally protected from responsibility for debts or liabilities, including legal issues. Shareholders and members are generally liable only to the extent of their contribution to the subsidiary’s capital.

Through its subsidiary the parent company has the chance to test the market by exploring potential opportunities outside its usual orbit and entering into agreements with other registered companies in Ghana and throughout the West African region. Also, the permanency of a subsidiary has greater credibility with clients and suppliers, compared with branches.

However, taking the step of setting up a subsidiary is still a long way from finding the most efficient and financially sensible route to setting up operations in Ghana.

Consider this … Bradford Jacobs will find the perfect fit and brightest talent for your company in Ghana through our in-country Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) specialists. Employees can be working at their desk in days … not weeks, or even longer. All concerns regarding employment laws and compliance will be removed by our Employer of Record (EOR) teams. We handle the hassle … while you have day-to-day operational control over your workforce.

Subsidiary Regulations in Ghana

As applying to a private limited company which incorporates in accordance with the Companies Act (2019).

Registration and Documentation:

  • Verify and register the unique company name with the Registrar-General office, which approves and issues a Subsidiary Name Registration Certificate. The subsidiary name must include the suffix ‘Ltd’. This complies with the Registration of Business Names Act
  • Formally register the nature of the business operation with the Registrar-General
  • Provide for the Registrar-General the completed Company Registration Form 3, witnessed and notarised by a Commissioner for Oaths
  • Register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to receive the Investment Certificate
  • Register with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for contributions to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT)
  • Apply for a business licence from the relevant Metropolitan Authority
  • Register an office address

Accounts and Taxation:

  • Obtain a Tax Identification Number from the Registrar-General or the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and register with the GRA
  • A subsidiary in the service sector must have a minimum of €464,150 (US$500,000) fully paid-up share capital if wholly-owned by a foreign company
  • A wholly foreign-owned company in the trading sector, such as for importing goods, must have a minimum of €928,300 (US$1,000,000) paid up capital
  • Register the company’s auditor with the Registrar-General


  • The subsidiary must have between two and 50 members/shareholders
  • There must be two directors, at least one residing in Ghana, registered with the Registrar-General
  • Appoint a company secretary, who is a lawyer, chartered account or chartered secretary
  • The auditor should be a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. The auditor must be replaced after six years and cannot be reappointed for another six years
The Federal Republic of Ghana is historically known as the ‘Gold Coast’ – and the precious metal still plays a key role in the country’s economy. Gold has been mined since the 15th century, with Ghana’s location on West Africa’s Atlantic coast strategically perfect for exporting gold to Europe, Asia and the Americas. It is a geographic location that still benefits Ghana’s exports, and as an entry point for its own imports and those being moved on to other countries in the region.

Cocoa is another long-term staple of Ghana’s economy and the country is now the world’s second-largest producer, behind neighbour Côte d’Ivoire. The most recent addition to Ghana’s three key natural resources is oil, discovered in 1970, and was followed by discoveries of natural gas fields into the late 70s and early 80s. Ghana also has borders with Burkina Faso and Togo.

English is the official language for the population of around 32 million, although there are around 75 dialects among the sub-groups of Ghana’s broad cultural family, among which some of the most significant are the Anyi, Asante, Baule, Fanti and Guang. Also, Ghanaians have many cultural affinities with their French-speaking neighbours in the adjoining states.

Away from the major cities, celebrations and festivals often relate to religion with traditional authority based on hereditary chieftaincy, which is broad-based and generally democratic. Education and the enterprise of individuals encourages social mobility. The influence of the extended family is less clear in urban areas among professionals and the economically upwardly mobile, who have also become more open to Western influences.

Starting your business in Ghana

Foreign companies intending to start business operations by opening a subsidiary in Ghana have many questions to ask. Which business type best suits their plans? Where best to locate in order to recruit staff qualified for the business? Which incentives apply to foreign businesses and where is the best location to access them? And … how long will the incorporation process take?

Broadly, Ghana has six company types to choose from – a private limited liability company, limited by its shares; a company limited by guarantee; a company unlimited by shares; a sole proprietorship; an external company and an incorporated partnership.

A foreign company must have a registered and incorporated subsidiary in Ghana in order to hire staff and operate their payroll. The usual choice is to incorporate a private limited liability company as a subsidiary, through Ghana’s Registrar-General’s office and which operates in compliance with the Companies Code.

Incorporation procedures for a private limited liability company include:

  • Under the requirements of the Registration of Business Names Act, verify and register the unique company name with the Registrar-General, which approves and issues a Subsidiary Name Registration Certificate. The subsidiary name must include the suffix ‘Ltd’
  • Formally submit to the Registrar-General the nature of the business
  • Obtain a Tax Identification Number from the Registrar General or the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and register with the GRA
  • Supply completed Company Registration Form 3, witnessed and notarised by a Commissioner for Oaths
  • The subsidiary must have between two and 50 members/shareholders
  • There must be two directors, at least one a Ghanaian, registered with the Registrar-General
  • A subsidiary in the service sector must have a minimum of €464,150 (US$500,000) fully paid-up share capital if wholly owned by a foreign company
  • A wholly foreign-owned company in the trading sector, such as for importing goods, must have a minimum of €928,300 (US$1,000,000) paid up capital
  • Register with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to receive the Investment Certificate
  • Register with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for contributions to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT)
  • Apply for a business licence from the relevant Metropolitan Authority, which will subsequently inspect the business premises
  • Register full details of company auditor, company secretary, all shareholders and their share contributions, company officers
  • The company is duly registered and can commence operations once all documents and verifications have been submitted to the Registrar-General, which then issues the Certificate of Incorporation; a certified copy of the Registered Company Constitution; a certified copy of Form 3
  • Post-registration, the company must annually submit to the Registrar-General updated details of every member of the company and its shareholders

Expanding your business into Ghana

The Federal Republic of Ghana sits on West Africa’s Atlantic coastline and its trading routes, with an economy grounded in oil, gold and cocoa exports and a rapidly developing digital economy which is being advanced by a predominantly young workforce at the cutting edge of business and commerce.

Companies expanding their business into Ghana have to be prepared for the challenges facing the country’s economy. Growing inflation and increased public debt led to an approach to the International Monetary Fund, with the prospect of a €2.8 billion (US$3 billion) loan by the middle of 2023. Inflation has particularly affected utilities, petrol, diesel and food prices.

Apart from the oil and natural gas sectors, Foreign Direct Investment is also drawn towards agri-business, infrastructure and construction, energy, healthcare and ICT … all targets for foreign businesses expanding into Ghana.

Advantages and Challenges when entering the Ghana Market

Some Advantages:

  • Natural resources of gold, oil, cocoa and a comparatively low-cost labour pool
  • Stable political and social system
  • Strategically well placed as West African trading hub
  • Trading routes by sea facilitated by the Atlantic ports of Takoradi and Tema, the latter being the preferred port for land-locked West African neighbours
  • Good international air links for passengers and cargo with most of the major international airlines operating from the country
  • Tax and excise exemptions and incentives for foreign companies in certain sectors and those operating in Free Zones

Some Challenges:

  • Dealing with bureaucracy and lack of transparency in public sector procurement and general regulatory requirements
  • Recruiting staff with necessary skills to keep pace with technological advances in the business, manufacturing and commercial spheres
  • High level of minimum share capital requirements to set up a subsidiary, from €464,150 (US$500,000) upwards
  • Delays in receiving payments and moving goods through ports and airports
  • Indifferent infrastructure affecting logistics and electricity supply, which is also expensive, although these issues are being addressed

The Labour Act includes provisions for employment contracts and working agreements, with the National Labour Commission (NLC) administering and monitoring the laws.

Different types of Employment Contracts in Ghana

Open-ended, permanent employment contracts: The usual contract, lasting until retirement, resignation or termination according to the relevant regulations. Employees who work for longer than six months either continuously or in part in a calendar year are considered to be fully, permanently employed and must be provided with a written contract, under the regulations of the Act.

Casual employment contracts:  Not required to have a written contract and are often paid on a daily basis. Casual contracts are generally for seasonal or occasional work, not exceeding six months.

Fixed-term or temporary employment contracts:  These are generally permissible under employment legislation. The Act has no specific regulations for the length of the contracts.

Probation periods:  Where the proposed employment includes requirement for a probation period, the duration must be included in the contract. Generally they are for six months.

Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs):  Collective agreements in Ghana are drawn up between trade unions and employers or employers’ organisations. Under the Labour Act they can include all aspects of working conditions and entitlements; remuneration, probation periods; termination and notice periods and dispute procedures, among others. Initially, the relevant trade union must approach the Chief Labour Officer for a certificate appointing that union as the negotiating party on behalf of employees. The agreement must be concluded in writing, signed by all parties and two copies deposited with the Labour Officer.

Laws that regulate the Labour Relationship in Ghana

The Labour Act and the Ghanaian Constitution are the main factors governing employment legislation in Ghana, complemented by a number of specific Acts. These include:

  • The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act
  • The Social Security Act
  • The National Pensions Act
  • The National Health Insurance Act
  • The Data Protection Act
  • The Electronic Communications Act
  • The Persons with Disability Act
  • The Equal Opportunity Act

General requirements for Contracts

The Labour Act stipulates that workers must receive a written contract if they are employed for more than six months. The Act also recognises casual and temporary contracts and permits fixed-term contracts, although there are no specific provisions under the Act.

Ghana’s Labour Act is the main legislation covering the employment relationship between employers and employees. In general, it applies to all employees, Ghanaian citizens and foreigners and lays down minimum terms for entitlements and benefits. Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) and individual employment contracts can improve these minimums, but not reduce them.

What are the Compensation Laws?

National Minimum Wage (NMW): The National Tripartite Committee increased the monthly minimum to the equivalent of €51, US$56. The Committee also stipulated a 15% cost of living allowance on top of the monthly minimum.

Working Hours and Breaks: The normal working week is 40 hours split into five eight-hour days, with 48 hours permitted each week in some sectors. Where work is continuous, employees are entitled to a 30-minute break that is considered part of the working day.

Sick Leave and Benefits: The Labour Act allows for workers to have sick leave on producing a medical certificate, but makes no specific provision for sick pay or the length of leave. These would be covered by CBAs or contracts.

Paid Vacations: Individuals are entitled to 15 days paid leave after completing 12 months of employment in a calendar year, under Section 20 of the Act.

Public Holidays: Ghana has a number of paid statutory pubic holidays and commemorative days. The dates for the Islamic holidays of Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha vary each year.

Overtime: Hours worked over the agreed weekly limit are generally paid at 50% extra above the regular hourly rate. Where overtime is up to 50% of the usual wage it is taxed at 5%. Where overtime pay is more than 50% above the normal hourly rate, the excess is taxed at 10%.

Probation Periods: These are typically for six months and must be included in the employment contract.

Notice Periods: Notice periods are one month after working for more than three years, and two weeks for less than three years. Where work is week-to-week, seven days’ notice applies. In the first two instances, payment in lieu of notice is allowed.

Termination, Severance and Redundancies: Employment can be terminated by either party, allowing for statutory notice periods, but may be considered unfair in certain circumstances. These include trade union membership; during pregnancy or maternity leave; due to disability or discrimination; if employer failed to take action against complaints of harassment, for example.  Employees can take their grievance to the Labour Commission. Under the Labour Act, severance generally equates to any monies owing to the employee. The Act requires foreign workers to be compensated for costs due to repatriation for themselves and family members. Where an employer considers implementing redundancies, details of reasons, timescale and numbers affected must be given to the Chief Labour Officer and redundancy pay may be due.

Maternity / Paternity Leave: Employees are entitled to 12 weeks’ maternity leave after confirming the confinement with a medical certificate either from a doctor or midwife. The employee receives full pay and any other benefits she is entitled to. An extra two weeks is allowed in the case of complications or multiple births. Paid leave can be extended where illness due to the pregnancy is confirmed by a doctor. Nursing mothers are allowed up to one hour’s paid break from their work each day.

13th Month Salary and Bonuses: The Labour Act makes no provision for an extra month’s salary. Bonuses are at employers’ discretion. Where they are less than 15% of the annual basic salary they are taxed at 5%. Where bonuses exceed that percentage, they are taxed at graduated rates as part of the employees’ income.

Pensions: Ghana has a three-tier pension system in which contributions for the first two tiers are compulsory and the third voluntary. The first tier is administered by the State Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to which employers contribute the equivalent of 13.5% of the employee’s basic salary to the Basic Social Security Scheme. In the compulsory second tier the employee contributes 5% of their salary to trustees authenticated by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority. Employers have no statutory role in the third tier, which is fully funded voluntarily. Employers must ensure employees are registered with tier two. The retirement age is 60 (55 if working in hazardous conditions or in mining operations), although there are moves to increase the retirement age to 65.

Health Insurance: The National Health Insurance Scheme is mandatory and requires all residents in Ghana to be enrolled under one of its programmes through which they can access free health care. Healthcare is available in all districts and is a public and non-profit system. Ghana’s 2021 census revealed that 68% of the population were covered either by the NHIS or private funds, compared with only 40% in 2014-15. Since November 2021, the scheme has been extended to cover family planning, childhood leukaemia and other complaints. The National Health Insurance Card is linked to the Ghana Card, the national ID card.

Foreign companies expanding their international operations into a new country, typically need to recruit staff there. Inevitably this means coming up against bureaucracy, red tape and restrictions. In Ghana, companies must comply with all aspects of employment legislation, which includes drawing up contracts as part of the recruitment process.

The recruitment ‘to do’ list for companies expanding into a new country is long and often complex. Locating new talent will be the No. 1 requirement on this list and it is certain to raise major issues. This definitely applies if trying to recruit staff in Ghana while still based in your home country. The government restricts the number of expats that can be hired, depending on the company’s level of investment, and also the sectors in which they are allowed to work.

Once recruited and onboarded, employers face strictly-applied employment legislation laid down by the Labour Act that spells out their responsibilities and obligations to employees, in addition to the legal rights of their staff.

These demands add up to a considerable workload. There is a better option … a straightforward, fast and cost-effective alternative that will have your new staff operational in a matter of days, without having to unravel the red tape.

Bradford Jacobs has the essential expertise you need to provide the smoothest route for your journey into the Ghanaian economy. Our Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) networks have global reach to find the right staff. Then, through our Employer of Record (EOR) platforms we will have your new employees at their desks and screens in the shortest time. This guide highlights the essentials of recruitment and onboarding in Ghana. You can trust Bradford Jacobs to put the brightest talent in position for your company – right now!

Recruiting in Ghana

Foreign companies recruiting in Ghana for their international expansion can in theory draw on a workforce of around 11 million out of a population of around 32 million, to fill roles in the oil and gas industries, agri-businesses, finance and insurance, renewable energy, health and education, mining and the blossoming e-commerce sector.

The challenge comes in finding candidates with the necessary skill sets and experience, creativity, motivation and flexibility … and avoiding the recruitment bottlenecks resulting from relatively unskilled elements of the labour pool. Recruiters are not only looking for the technologically qualified, but those who are flexible, innovative and can think for themselves. And as Ghana strives to become an ‘up-to-the-minute’ economy, sharp digital skills are essential for every sector.

While a possible alternative is to import non-Ghanaian staff into the country, there are other complications. In addition to all expats requiring work permits – which are subject to change at extremely short notice – other restrictions apply. Expats are barred from working in some sectors, and the Ghana Investment Promotions Centre (GIPC) applies strict quotas depending on the level of investment by the company.

The Automatic Immigrant Quota (AIQ) stipulates: One expat, investment required between $US50,000-US$250,000 (€46,722-€233,600); two expats, extra investment up to US$500,000 (€467,400); three expats, extra investment up to $700,000 (€654,360); four expats, extra investment above US$700,000.

These considerations highlight where the global experience and local know-how of Bradford Jacobs is essential. Our Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) platforms will bridge the gap between the skills you need and finding the right fit for your company.

Employees’ pre-hire checks in Ghana

General:  Provided the questions or checks do not compromise the applicant’s rights under the Data Protection Act (2012), there is little specific or clear legislation regarding pre-hire procedures. Employers are permitted to use third parties to conduct the checks.

Specifics include:

Discrimination:  Pre-hire checks or interview questions should not discriminate on grounds of gender; race or ethnic origin; social or economic status; religious or other beliefs as detailed under the Constitution.

Criminal Checks:  Application to make such checks must be through the police Criminal Investigations Department in Accra.

Health Checks:  Where necessary they should be specific to the role and tasks involved in the work.

Education and References Checks:  Employers are entitled to verify candidates’ suitability by asking for verification of qualifications and previous work experience.

Basic requirements when recruiting in Ghana

The basis for Ghana’s employment legislation is based on the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) which applies to all employees and workers, Ghanaian or foreign, classified as permanent, casual or temporary. The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations directs policy and the National Labour Commission (NLC) administers the related laws and regulations.

The Labour Act rules that where an individual is employed for a period exceeding six months, either as a whole span or accumulated within a calendar year, they are deemed to be permanently employed and must be given a written contract. Casual or temporary employees are generally paid on a daily basis and the NLC does not require them to have a written contract.

The basic requirements of a written contract include the following:

  • Full names and addresses of both parties
  • Description of role and place of work
  • Wages and payment schedule, including overtime rates
  • Procedures for termination and resolving disputes
  • Working hours and breaks, rest days
  • Annual paid vacation
  • Both parties sign the contract

The Basics of Ghanaian Culture

The golden beaches along its Atlantic coastline on the Gulf of Guinea are not the reason that Ghana was historically known as the ‘Gold Coast’, before independence from British colonial rule in 1957.  English is still the official language, which counteracts ethnic differences, but still the amazing variety of Ghanaian culture includes six major ethnic groups, many sub-groups and around 70 indigenous languages and dialects.

Even so, Ghana’s population of around 32 million share uniform attitudes. Generally warm, welcoming and friendly, they show the respect for age, hierarchy and experience that has always been central to their cultural heritage. Reverence for ‘chieftaincy’ remains a key factor of rural communities.

Dance and music play a large part in Ghana’s cultural festivals, which delight in displaying pottery, wood carvings, ceremonial regalia, handwoven textiles and the work of goldsmiths … using the natural resource that gave Ghana its historical name and is still its major natural resource. Specialised craft villages, supplied by local craftsmen, create traditional goods for tourists and Ghanaians travelling from the urban centres.

Ghana Work Culture

Hierarchy:  As in society as a whole, business structure is ‘top-down’ with the most senior in age and experience commanding respect both for their position and their decisions.

Introductions/Greetings:  A warm smile accompanied by a firm handshake is the norm, and there is a tradition to shake hands first with the person on your right before moving round the group. Initially use titles, Mr. or Mrs. or academic qualifications, with the surname, until invited to use first names.

Language:  Ghana’s official – and business – language is English.

Gift Giving: Something modest from the home country will be appreciated, as with Ghanaians it is the ‘thought that counts’. Offer only with the right hand or both hands.

Business Cards:  Take plenty, as you will be expected to hand them to everyone at the meeting. Be sure to include academic qualifications as these are highly valued in Ghana. Do not offer cards with the left hand; only the right or both.

Dress Code: Lightweight clothing is acceptable all year, due to the climate, but should still be smart and formal in the business environment both for men and women.

Punctuality:  Meetings may start late and overrun their allotted schedule … if one was set. Build flexibility into your plans.

Negotiations and Meetings:  Face-to-face contact is always the preferred method to start business relationships. Spend time exchanging pleasantries and chat about families, as Ghanaians can be put off by plunging straight into business. Communication can often seem indirect as Ghanaians like to avoid tension or confrontation. It is important for them to maintain ‘face’.

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