Legislative framework

  • Main labour provisions are contained in the following four Acts
Relevant Act Definition of
Employment Act Various employment contractual terms.
Conditions of Employment Act Minimum conditions of employment for categories of employees not effectively covered through collective bargaining.
Employment of Young Persons and Children Act Protection against child labour and abuse.
Industrial and Labour Relations Act Conduct of industrial relations among parties.

Contracts of employment

  • Although oral contracts of employment are authorised, it is recommended to sign a written contract.
  • Any person under the age of 15 is not allowed to be employed.
  • The minimum age for hazardous work is 18.  
  • Written contracts should include the following elements
Name of the employer and of the employee Place of engagement and, where applicable, the place of origin of the employee and any other particular necessary for his identification Place at which, or the geographical limits within which, any work under the contract is to be performed An undertaking by the employer to pay the wages of the employee monthly or at shorter period
Name of the business or undertaking in which the employee is to be employed Date of commencement and the duration of the contract of service Wages to be paid and, if applicable, particulars of any food to be provided under the contract or of any cash equivalent of any such food Nature of the employment, including working hours and tasks where applicable and practical, and the general operations involved

Source: The Employment Act (Chapter 268 of the Laws of Zambia)

Types of employees

  • In Zambia, there are two categories of employees: unionized and non-unionized (management) workers.
  • While rules for non-unionized employees are generally defined by the top management, rules applicable to unionized employees are usually negotiated through a collective bargain or agreement.

Working hours and overtime

  • The normal working hours in a week shall not exceed 40 hours for office employees and 45 hours for factory employees.
  • The Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act specifies that the normal weekly hours should not exceed 48 hours.
  • The table displayed below lists applicable hourly rates for extra-hours
Hours performed Applicable hourly rate
Between 18.00 hours and 6.00 hours 1.15  x Usual hourly rate of pay
In excess of 48 hours a week 1.50 x Usual hourly rate of pay
During Sunday or a public holiday 2.00 x Usual hourly rate of pay

Sources: Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act (2011), Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Shop Workers) (Amendment) Order (2018). Note: the “usual” hourly rate of pay is simply the basic monthly wage divided by the total number of “usual” hours worked.

Employment rights and benefits

  • In Zambia, workers have notably the following rights
1. Under Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, employees are entitled to, at least, 24 days off per year with full pay (excluding public holidays). 2. In addition to annual leave, women employees, that worked at least 24 months with their current employer, are entitled to three months maternity leave.
3. Employees benefit from paid sick leave for up to six months, the last 3 months being half-paid. A medical certificate is required. Female domestic workers can request a leave of absence without loss of pay to take care of their hospitalized child requiring special attention. 4. 7 days paid leave must be granted to the employee in case of the death of the employee’s spouse, child, mother or father. The employer must provide a funeral grant for a standard coffin, cash and one 50-kilogramme bag of mealie meal.
5. In case of redundancy, severance pay applies. The employee has to receive an indemnity corresponding to at least 2 months for each completed year of service. 6. Employers have to provide employees with one of the following: (i) housing or housing allowance in lieu thereof; (ii) house loan or advance towards the purchase or construction of a house; or (iii) guarantee facility for a mortgage.
7. Employees shall operate in safe working conditions.

Termination of employment and employment disputes

  • Termination of the contract of employment may occur if at least one of the following conditions are met
Expiry of contract Frustration (e.g. death) Normal retirement or medical discharge
Redundancy Resignation or dismissal
  • In case of disputes and if conciliation failed, it is advised to refer and follow procedures precised by the Employment Act and the Industrial and Labour Relations Act.
  • Investors can recruit foreign workers.
  • Employer seeking to employ rare skills are required to apply for work permits.

Employee costs estimation calculator

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Occupations subject to a minimum wage

  • For certain occupations, the government regularly defines basic minimum wages.
Person employed as a/in the Minimum monthly wage
Assistant bicycle assembler 1,504.50 145.7
Assistant dispatch clerk 1,504.50 145.7
Audio visual equipment repairer 2,167.50 210
Bailing or wrapping of articles and goods 1,050.00 101.7
Bicycle assembler 1,629.00 157.8
Book-keeper 2,481.00 240.3
Cashier 2,380.50 230.6
Checkout operator 1,629.00 157.8
Costing clerk 2,031.00 196.7
Credit controller 2,380.50 230.6
Delivery vehicle assistant 1,050.00 101.7
Dispatch clerk 2,031.00 196.7
Driver of a motor cycle 1,278.00 123.8
Driver of a motor scooter 1,278.00 123.8
Driver of a motor vehicle requiring a heavy duty or public service vehicle licence 1,629.00 157.8
Driver of a motor vehicle requiring an ordinary driving licence 1,504.50 145.7
Driver of a motorised three-wheeled vehicle 1,278.00 123.8
General worker, not elsewhere specified 1,050.00 101.7
Handy person 1,050.00 101.7
Ledger clerk 2,031.00 196.7
Machine operator 2,167.50 210
Office orderly 1,050.00 101.7
Opening, closing and repairing packages 1,050.00 101.7
Operating of a mechanically operated passenger of goods lift 1,278.00 123.8
Order person 2,031.00 196.7
Packer 1,278.00 123.8
Picture framer 1,629.00 157.8
Sales assistant 1,278.00 123.8
Sales person 2,031.00 196.7
Shelf packer 1,504.50 145.7
Shoe repairer 1,504.50 145.7
Shorthand typist 2,380.50 230.6
Supervisor 2,380.50 230.6
Tailor 2,031.00 196.7
Tailor’s assistant 1,504.50 145.7
Telephone operator 1,629.00 157.8
Typist 1,629.00 157.8
Upholsterer 2,031.00 196.7
Watch repairer 2,167.50 210
Watchperson 1,050.00 101.7
Window dresser 2,380.50 230.6
Window dresser’s assistant 1,504.50 145.7

Note: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 10.3238 ZMW
Source: Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Amendment) Order (2018)

Typical wages applied by international companies

  • The table below provides examples of typical monthly wages paid by international companies
Occupation USD
Unskilled labour 200
Driver 300
Shop assistant 400
Administrative assistant 700
Skilled technician 1,500
Graduate entry 2,500
Engineer 3,000
Middle manager 3,500
Senior manager 4,500

Source: IGuide-Zambia. 2018 figures..

Contributions to the pension scheme

  • Both employees and employers have to contribute (at the same rate) to the national pension scheme provider –National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA).  
  • Employers have to make a monthly contribution equivalent to 5% of the employee’s salary but limited to ZMW 995 (2018 limit).
  • In addition to NAPSA, employers may also register with other private pension scheme providers.

*Disclaimer: Estimates of the “Cost calculator” are based on data provided by related local stakeholders. ZDA will not be liable for any computation made on outdated information.