Employment Security

Written Employment Particulars

In accordance with the Employment Act, there are two types of contracts only, i.e., oral and written contracts. It does not focus on fixed term and permanent/indefinite term contracts. Employment Act does not require contracts to be in writing unless required by this Act or some other law. Even in the case of oral contracts, the law requires preparation of a "record of service" in duplicate to be handed over to an employee within one month of commencement of contract. The record of contract must contain the following: the name and sex of the employee and his nationality; the name, address and occupation of the employer; the date of the employee's engagement and the capacity in which he is to be employed; the type of contract; the place of engagement; the rate of wages and any additional payments in kind; and the intervals of payment.

The written contract is required in the case of contracts of six months or longer duration or contracts of Foreign Service or for some specific tasks which is expected not to be completed within six months. A written contract of service will include all particulars of an employee, employer, wages, place of work, etc.  The written contract must be signed by the employee or he/she puts the thumb/finger impression to indicate his/her consent and agreement to the terms and conditions specified in it. This contract is enforceable after attestation in triplicate under the relevant office, one copy for each party and third copy for the relevant government office. A written contract of service should not be binding on the family of an employee.

Source: §16-40 of the Employment Act, 1965

Fixed Term Contracts

Zambian labour Law does not allow hiring casual and fixed term workers for tasks of permanent nature. The Employment Act Cap 268, amended in 2015, makes casualization and unjustifiable termination of contracts of employment illegal. The amended Act makes it illegal for any employer to engage an employee on a casual basis for any job that was of a permanent nature.

The amended Act defines casual employees as a person whose employment is not permanent in nature, does not require any skill in performance of the work, and his/her employment terms provide for the payment at an hourly rate. payable at the end of each day. A short term contract is defined as a contract of service of 6 months but not exceeding 12 months. The permanent employment is defined as “employment that exceeds six months, is not casual work and is under a written contract of service; or a position in an undertaking that is necessary for the continued or sustainable operation of the undertaking or is core to the objectives of the undertaking.


Employers are prohibited from engaging an employee for a permanent job on casual terms of employment.  The following types of contracts are not considered casualization: work under a consultancy agreement; piece work; seasonal work; temporary employment; part time work; and flexibalisation.

Where a casual employee continues to be employed after the expiration of 6 months, the employee ceases to be a casual employee and the contract is deemed to be a short term contract. If an employee is engaged on a short term contract and continues to be employed on expiry of this contract (in excess of 12 months), the contract is deemed to be a fixed term contract. On the expiry of cumulative period of fixed term contract, the contract of service is deemed to be a permanent contract.  

The fixed term contract is defined as a contract of service for a period exceeding 12 months, renewable for a further term provided that the cumulative duration of successive fixed term contracts shall not exceed the period as prescribed under the law. The cumulative period (as fixed under regulations) can be jointly altered by employers and workers under a collective agreement specifying the reasons for renewals of fixed term contracts.

Source: §3, 12, and 28 of the Employment Act CAP 268, as amended by Employment (Amendment) Act of 2015

Probation Period

Laws do not specify maximum duration of probationary period. Although Employment Act (Section 26B) and Shop Workers’ Wages Order 2011 (Section 6) mention certain provisions applicable only to the probationary employees, however, probation/trial period is not clearly mentioned in the law.

Source: §6 of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012); §26(B) of the Employment Act, 1965

Regulations on Employment Security

  • Employment Act, 1965
  • Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, 1982
  • Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)
  • Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Shop Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)
  • Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Domestic Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012)