The Labor Law in Uganda is the employment law that consists of the rights of all employees in any organization, including private and public organizations. The labor laws provide and protect the employee’s right to employment. The rights of the employees are to be observed by every person involved in the employment process including the employer. These rights are made for all employees of any level, there is no discrimination of any kind. Every employee is treated the same way irrespective of their race, sex, age, religion, social background, health status, tribe, political and economic stand e.t.c. The labor laws in Uganda provide that all employees should be given the same pay for the same work and position, employees’ benefits are the same so far they occupy the same position, no any form of discrimination due to the employees social or economic background, everyone has equal rights.
The labor laws in Uganda were established from different legislation and some of the labor laws include;
- The Employment Act 2006
- Constitution of Uganda
- Workers Compensation Act 2000
- The Trade/Labour Union Act, 2006
- National Social Security Fund Act, 1985
- Occupational Safety and Health Act 2006
- Public health rules 2020 (Control of Covid-19) and others
Even though the Labor law in Uganda are from different sources, they all have the same purpose which is to protect the employee’s rights and also to establish the employer’s obligations, legal rights, and responsibilities towards their employees. The labor law in Uganda also helps to provide equal opportunity and wages without discrimination, to protect the employee’s well-being and safety around the workplace, and also to regulate the relationship between employer and employee.
- The Employment Act
The Employment Act of 2006 provides the conditions of employment of workers. This act covers everything relating to employment and its regulations, the terms, and conditions of employment. This employment act includes;
- Contract of Service- Employees have the right to a written or oral contract and they must be satisfied with the contract before they commence work and there must be an attestation backing it up.
- Termination of contract of service and termination notice- A certificate must be given to employees on the termination of the contract of service and the employee has the right to be given proper notice before termination of the contract of service by the employer and there must be proof of reasons for the termination.
- Protection of wages- Wages must be paid to the employees with legal tender through bank cheque, transfer to bank account, or maybe through postal order.
- Hours of work- There is a right to reasonable hours of work for every worker. Nothing more than 9-10hours everyday and 48hours weekly
- Leave and holidays- Every employee is entitled to paid annual leave. This leave is for workers to have a balanced productivity life. The purpose is for them to have a break or rest so that they can renew their mental and physical capabilities. The different types of leaves that are allowed by employees are sick leave, maternity leave, study leave, paternity leave, annual leave. Apart from leaves, every employee must partake in all public holidays and they must at least have a day off by the weekend.
- Employment of Women- A female employee has a right to be protected during pregnancy and after delivery. They have to be treated equally with the other sex without any form of discrimination. They also have the right to take maternity rest.
- Employment of Children- A child under 14 years is not to be employed but the ones above the age of 14 have the right to be given light work that won’t affect their education and they must be monitored by an adult worker.
- Discrimination in employment- employees have the right to equality of opportunity no matter their differences, everyone should be treated the same.
2. Constitution of Uganda
From the constitution of Uganda, 1995 (revised in 2005), the law provides the right to equal pay for all employees doing the same work values. Under article 21 of the constitution of Uganda, the law states that all workers are equal and there must not be any form of discrimination on any ground which includes, religion, sex, race, age, ethnic, social and economic stand and others. Also, article 25 of the Uganda constitution, provides that there must be a prohibition of forced labor. Anybody that hires or recruits a person with threats of any penalty or conditions that are against the person’s will should be punished. It also provides for freedom of association for every worker to form, join, and participate in trade unions. The law also allows the employees to have a collective agreement with the representative of the labor union and also there is a right to strike.
3. Workers Compensation Act 2000
According to the Workers Compensation Act 2000, there is a right for employees to get compensated for any injury or accident that arises during his/her employment. There is a work injury benefit for every worker depending on the level of injury. The Act says for an injury that leads to death, the compensation should be full benefits which are the employer’s monthly earnings multiplied by 60 months and if there is a case of initial disability benefit received by the employee before death for the same accident then there will be a minus 50% of the value of money paid for insurance. The full benefits of compensation will be paid to the dependent survivors or used for the medical bills and funerals.
4. The Trade/Labour Union Act 2006
The Trade Union Act provides for freedom to form, join and participate in the labor union. This is an organization that is created by workers for them to have a common right and interest. It is the right of every worker to participate in this union group and this group holds its meetings outside the working hours.
This law also allows collective union bargaining through the union representative. The collective agreement is a written statement that contains the labor union’s opinions about employment rights. This collective agreement can be between 2 or more labor union groups together with employers of different organizations.
The labor union has the right to call for a strike if there is no common understanding between the labor union and employers but this is done before more than 14days of written notice. The strike must be a peaceful strike action and also comply with labor law.
5. Occupational Safety and Health Act 2006
The occupational safety and health Act 2006 (article 13) state that an employer of an organization must ensure the health, safety, and welfare of his employees at the workplace. There must be a safe working environment in the organization and the facilities provided must be free from anything that can cause a health risk for the employees. The employer should inform the employee ahead of any equipment, substance, or machinery that can be of risk of not properly handled and there must be protective measures.
The law also ensures that personal protective equipment including protective wears should be given to employees working in an organization involved in hazardous work and there is a need for the employer to orientate his workers about the need of health and safety at the worker, there should be proper training and follow up.
The occupational and safety health Act provides a labor inspection system at workplaces.
6. National Social Security Fund Act, 1985
The law provides that workers have the right to a pension at old age. Any worker that has attained the age of 55 and above is entitled to retirement benefits. The sum of money given is the contribution of the worker (from the monthly payment) and the employer (from the monthly earnings) for a long period with an added interest rate. Through this law, there is also a provision of survivors’ benefit to dependents i.e worker’s relatives either child, wife, husband, siblings, parents, or next-of-kin if an insured employee dies before retirement. There is also the right of invalidity benefits for a work that was involved in a work accident that later caused disability and thereby affecting the ability to continue work at the same organization.
7. Public Health rules (control of Covid -19) 2020
The pandemic in 2020 made Uganda issue some rules and regulations concerning how to curb the disease from spreading among workers. They ensured medical officers go for inspection and also take necessary action against COVID-19. It also ensures there is a rule for the employers of any organization to take immediate action whenever they notice anyone in their workplace showing signs of COVID-19 by informing the medical officer or any medical practitioner immediately.
Apart from the discussed labor laws above, there are also some other important legislation on employment and labor in Uganda which includes;
Public Holidays Act 1965, Equal Opportunities Act 2007, Employment Regulations 2011, Employment and Labour Relations Act 2004, Persons with Disabilities Act 2019, Employment (Sexual Harassment) Regulations 2012, Penal Code Act, Labour Disputes Act 2006, Labour Union Regulation 2011, Minimum Wages Boards and Wages Councils Act 2000 and The Workers’ Compensation Regulations 2011.
The labor law in Uganda is useful information that guides employees about their legal rights at any workplace. The labor laws for employment will also help employers know their obligations towards the workers. It gives employees prior knowledge about what to expect at work and what to give to have a good working life.
To know more about the labor law in Uganda, you can contact the Shikana Group. Our firm specializes in both commercial and business law all over the Africa countries.
At Shikana Group, we advise any business clients either an employer or employee operating in Africa on legal issues. We educate them about their rights and obligations to have a good working relationship and environment.
We are an independent law firm founded in Tanzania but operate all over the Africa continent.