Forced Labour

Prohibition on Forced and Compulsory Labour

The Constitution of Namibia states that no person is to be required to perform forced labour. All types of forced labour is prohibited unless it is required as a consequence of a sentence or order by a court, where the person is rightfully detained and is reasonably necessary in the interests of hygiene, during a public emergency, or required as a part of reasonable and normal communal or civic obligations.

Under the Labour Act, 2007, a person must not directly or indirectly cause, permit or require any individual to perform forced labour. Forced labour includes any work performed under a threat of penalty, punishment or harm upon either that individual or another individual upon non-performance of the work; any work which is performed by the employee’s child who is under the age of 18 and is performed in an arrangement between the employer or employee; any work performed by an individual because that individual is for any reason subject to the control, supervision or jurisdiction of a traditional leader. 

It is an offense for any person to require an individual to perform forced labour. A person convicted is liable to a fine not exceeding N$ 20,000 or to imprisonment for up to 4 years or both.

Sources: §9 of the Constitution of Namibia and §4 of the Labour Act, 2007

Freedom to Change Jobs and Right to Quit

The Constitution of Namibia provides all persons have a right to withhold their labour without exposing themselves to criminal penalties. Furthermore, every person has the right to practice any profession, or carry on any occupation, trade or business.

An employee can terminate the contract after serving reasonable notice. Both the employee and employee have the same notice requirements. If the employment contract is to be terminated on notice, the period of notice is not to be less than one day if the employee has been employed for four weeks or less. If the employee has been employed for more than four weeks but not more than one year, the period of notice should not be less than one week. Where the employee has been employed for than one year, then the notice period should be of at minimum one month.

Sources: §21 of the Constitution of Namibia and §30 of the Labour Act, 2007

Inhumane Working Conditions

An employee cannot work more than 45 hours per week. There are exceptions to this limitation upon serving members of the public, security officers, an employee working in emergency health-care services or an employee of a class designated by the Minister of Labour. Furthermore, an employee is not allowed to work more than 10 hours of overtime per week, and in any case, not more than 3 hours of overtime per day.

Sources: §16 & 17 of the Labour Act, 2007