If one wants to know how period of limitation is dealt within the Ethiopian labour law, this note can give you some ideas.

Period of limitation in a labour issue varies based on the nature of claim the plaintiff may have against the defendant.

In a general employment relationship, unless a specific time limit is provided otherwise in the labour law proclamation or other relevant laws, an action arising from an employment relationship shall be barred by limitation after one year from the date on which the claim becomes enforceable.

And if the claim is a claim of reinstatement by a worker arising from an unlawful termination of a contract of employment the claim will be barred after three months from the date of the termination of the contract of employment. But if a claim is made by a worker for payment of wages, overtime and other payments it is barred after six months from the date it becomes due.

In any way any claim by a worker or employer for any kind of payment shall be barred by limitation unless an action is brought within six months form the date of termination.

You may ask how the period of limitation is calculated. The law states that unless the proclamation provides a specific way of calculation, the period of limitation starts to run from the day following the day when the right may be exercised and whenever the last day of period of limitation falls on a day other than a working day it will expire on the next working day.

An interruption of period of limitation can take place when an action is taken before an authority responsible for the determination of labour disputes until a final decision is given or if an action is taken before the competent authority responsible for the enforcement and application of the labour law proclamation until a final decision is given in writing. It might also be interrupted when an express recognition of the other party’s right. However this ground may not interrupt a period of limitation for more than three times in the aggregate.

As for a waiver of limitation any party can waive the right of raising the objection of period of limitation provided that a waiver of such right made before the date of expiry of the period of limitation shall have no effect.

An action after the expiry of a period of limitation can be accepted by the authority responsible for the determination of labour dispute if it ascertains that the delay is due to force majeure. However, the action must be brought within ten days from the date the force majeure ceases to exist.

The labour law has listed conditions to be good causes to disregard a period of limitation. This is done of course without affecting the generality of the above paragraph. The conditions listed are illness of the concerned worker, transfer of the worker upon order to a place other than his residence and call of the concerned worker for national service.

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