Employment Contracts and Labor Law in Panama

Information on fixed-term, temporary and full- or part-time contracts for workers employed in Panama...

There are three different types of employment contract in Panama:

  1. Defined - for a limited or specific period of time
  2. Undefined - an indefinite job position with no expiration date
  3. Construction contracts - specific to construction and labor jobs

The job contract should always be in writing, never verbal. The employer must provide a job contract, which should include the following:

  • Employee's name
  • Employee's ID number
  • Employee's address
  • Salary
  • Terms and conditions of employment, if any
  • Payment dates
  • Job responsibilities and job description
  • Information about working hours, lunch breaks, sick leave and annual leave entitlements

Further information on employment contracts in Panama is available in Spanish from the Ministry of Labor (Ministerio del Trabajo) website.

Minimum wage

The minimum wage in Panama varies greatly both geographically and by region. Wages in Panama City are significantly higher than in the rest of the country.

Unemployment

There are no unemployment benefits available for unemployed people in Panama.

There is an unemployment agency run by the government body, Ministry of Labor (in Spanish). They have job listings and interview prospective employees, and can also review their résumés in order to help them find a job more quickly. However, only Panamanian citizens can benefit from these services.