Forced Labour

Prohibition on Forced and Compulsory Labour

Forced Labour is prohibited under the Constitution and is a punishable offence under the Criminal Code. If a person compels another by intimidation, violence, fraud or any other unlawful means to accept a particular employment or particular conditions of employment, or to refuse or withhold his labour, with the object of imposing on an employer by force the acceptance or modification of terms of employment is punishable, upon complaint, with simple imprisonment at least three months, or fine.

The anti-trafficking legislation also prohibits trafficking in persons for the purpose of exploitation at the pretext of domestic or overseas employment. The definition for exploitation includes labour exploitation, forced labour or servitude. It is punishable offence with rigorous imprisonment ranging from 15 to 25 years and with fine from 150,000 to 300,000 Birr.  

Source: §42(2 & 3) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia 1994; §603 of the Criminal Code Proclamation No. 414/2004; §2 & 3 of the Prevention and Suppression of Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Proclamation (No. 909/2015)

Source: § 42(2 & 3) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia 1994; §603 of the Criminal Code Proclamation No. 414/2004

Freedom to Change Jobs and Right to Quit

Workers have the right to change jobs after serving due notice on their employer.  For more information on this, please refer to the section on employment security.

Source: § 26-35 of the Labour Proclamation No. 377/2003 (amended by Proc. No. 466/2005 & Proc. No. 494/2006)

Inhumane Working Conditions

Working time may be extended beyond normal working hours of forty eight hours per week and eight hours a day. However, overtime work may not exceed 2 hours in a day or 20 hours in a month or 100 hours in a year. A worker may not be compelled to work overtime except in case of accident (actual or expected), force majeure, urgent work, or substitution of absent workers assigned on work that runs continuously without interruption.

For more information on this, please refer to the section on compensation.

Source: §61-67 of the Labour Proclamation No. 377/2003 (amended by Proc. No. 466/2005 & Proc. No. 494/2006)

Regulations on Forced Labour

  • Labour Proclamation No.377/2003 / የአሰሪና ሰራተኛ ዓዋጅ ቁ. 377/2003
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