Labour Officers

All about Labour Officers and Work in Zambia, What are the Responsibilities of Labour Officers, Labour Officers and labour Laws in Zambia.

 

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Who is a Labour Officer?

Any individual appointed or deemed to have been appointed by the designate minister to carry out labour matters affecting workers in various workplaces. These also include the deputy labour commissioner, an assistant labour commissioner and a labour inspector.

What do they do?

According to Part II of Chapter 268 of the Employment Act: Powers and duties of Labour Officers, labour officers shall have the power to do all or any of the following:

  • To enter freely at any reasonable time, whether by day or night, any workplace or conveyance where he may have reasonable cause to believe persons are being employed and to inspect such workplace or conveyance. This power shall only be exercised during the hours of daylight in relation to any private dwelling-house or any land or building.         
  • To enter by day, any premises in order to carry out any examination, test or inquiry which he may consider necessary in order to satisfy him/herself that the provisions of this Act are being complied with and in particular:
  • To interrogate, whether alone or in the presence of witnesses, any employer, employee or casual employee on any matter concerning the application of any of the provisions of this Act, and to question any other person from whom he considers useful information may be obtained, so, however, that no one shall be required to answer any questions tending to incriminate him/herself.
  • To require the production for examination of any book, register, account or other document, the keeping of which is prescribed by this Act, and to copy such documents or to make extracts there from and, if he considers such a course necessary or expedient, to remove such book, register, account or other document.
  • To enforce the posting of notices in such places and in such manner as may be prescribed.

Does a Labour Officer have to inform an employer of his/her visit?

Not always. A labour officer shall, on the occasion of any inspection or visit, notify the employer or his/her representative of his/her presence, unless it is considered by the labour officer concerned that such notification may be prejudicial to the performance of his/her duties.

Can evidence be removed from a workplace?

Yes. Where a labour officer removes a book, register, account or other document that is relevant to their investigation, he/she shall give a receipt in respect of such book, register, account or other document to the employer or his/her representative.

Are there laws protecting the work of Labour Officers?

Yes. Any person who commits the following acts will be guilty of an offence. This includes a person who:

  • Willfully obstructs, hinders or delays a proper officer or a medical officer in the exercise of any of the powers conferred upon him/her by the provisions of this Act.
  • Without reasonable cause, fails to comply with any lawful direction given or made by a proper officer or a medical officer under the provisions of this Act.
  • Fails to produce any book, account, register or other document which he is required to produce under the provisions of this Act.
  • Conceals, or attempts to conceal, any employee or casual employee who is required to appear before, or to be examined by, any labour officer, or who otherwise prevents, or attempts to prevent, any such employee or casual employee from so appearing or being examined. 

Can a place of employment refuse access to a Labour Officer or Commissioner?

No. Every employment agency shall afford all facilities which may be reasonable or necessary to enable the Labour Commissioner or any labour officer to exercise any powers conferred upon him/her by the Act. Any employment agency failing to afford such facilities shall be guilty of an offence. 

Do Labour Officers have identification?

Yes. The Labour Commissioner shall issue to every labour officer a certificate of his/her appointment. A labour officer shall, if so required by any person affected, produce the certificate. 

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