Work and Wages

Minimum Wage

The Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order 2011 defines minimum wage as the lowest wage that may be paid to an employee while the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Domestic Workers) Order 2011 defines minimum wages as the lowest wages which may be paid to a domestic worker.

The Minister (for Labour) may prescribe wage rates for different categories of workers in an employment through a statutory order if he/she is of the opinion that there is no other effective way of regulating the minimum wages or working condition for those groups especially in the absence of collective bargaining.

In pursuance of this provision, Minister for Labour has issues three different statutory instruments, i.e., Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order, 2011, the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Shop Workers) Order, 2011, and the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Domestic Workers) Order, 2011 sets minimum wage and working conditions for certain employment groups. These Statutory Orders were first amended in 2012 and now in 2018 whereby the minimum wage rates have been increased. The total minimum wage includes allowances like Transport Allowance, Lunch Allowance and Housing Allowance. All of these allowances are specified under different statutory wage orders.

Employment Code Act of 2019 has repealed the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act. The new law provides for Labour Advisory Committee, an ad hoc committee of the Tripartite Consultative Labour Council. Labour Advisory Committee is a tripartite-plus committee with two members each from government, employer, and worker organizations. There must also be two persons with knowledge and experience in determination of minimum wages and conditions of employment. The Committee must also include a representative of the national institution, responsible for statistics.

The Labour Advisory Committee may inquire into the wages and conditions of employment in any undertaking or sector in order to recommend minimum wages and conditions of employment; and review at least every two years and make recommendations, to the Minister, on the minimum wages and conditions of employment for any group of employees. 

Procedure for making a statutory order regulating wages is not prescribed by the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act. However, the Act stipulates that the relevant trade union must be consulted before making any statutory order regarding a group of workers. Law does not impose any frequency of adjustment in minimum wage rates. However, any person affected by a statutory order made under this section may apply to the Minister for a review of such order.

Currently, Labour Office under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security does all the monitoring related to compliance with the law. The Government through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has the legal mandate to suspend the operating licence of the defaulting entity. Non-compliance with the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act results in a fine of up to 200,000 penalty units. 

Source: §98-105 of the Employment Code Act of 2009; §3 of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012 and 2018); § Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Shop Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012 and 2018); §3 of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (Domestic Workers) Order, 2011 (amended in 2012 and 2018)

For updated minimum wage rates, please refer to the section on minimum wages (https://wageindicator.org/salary/minimum-wage/zambia/

Regular Pay

In accordance with the Employment Code Act of 2019, an employer is under the obligation to pay the worker when due and payable on hourly, daily, fortnightly, monthly basis. The piece rate employees have to be paid on the completion of their tasks however wages of piece rate, daily/hourly employees can be accumulated and paid after a month, if agreed between the parties. Law requires payment of wages at regular intervals within five (5) days on the completion of wage period for which wages are payable.

Wages are paid in legal tender directly to the employee or, on written request, by cheque or postal order or money order or directly to the bank account. Wage payment can also be made to the person authorised by the employer in writing. 

In kind payment, in addition to wages, is allowed. This payment is customary or agreed to by the employee or provided for in a collective agreement or in accordance with any written law, provided that any such payment, being an allowance in kind, shall be for the personal use and benefit of the employee, and his family, and it must not be in the form of liquor or drugs.

Deduction from wages is allowed in case of contribution in any fund or scheme approved by the Minister; damage/loss done by the worker; repayment of loan; and such other amounts as may be prescribed by the Minister through statutory instrument. Deduction is prohibited from wages payable to an employee or any amount paid to such employee as an advance of wages in consideration of, or as a reward for, providing employment for such employee or for retaining such employee in employment.

The employer must keep the record of wages and the deductions made from the wages.

An employer may not limit the right of an employee to dispose of his/her wages. An employer may establish a shop to sell provisions for workers however workers may not be compelled in any way to make purchases from that shop. Employer is required to explain it to the worker the wages and conditions on payment of wages to a worker before commencement of employment.

Government of Zambia has promulgated Employment Code Act of 2019 which repeals and replaces the Employment Act,1965, the Employment (Special Provisions) Act,1966, the Employment of Young Persons and Children Act, 1933 and the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, 1982.

Source: §66-71 of the Employment Code Act of 2009

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • Employment Code Act, 2019
  • 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)
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