Department of Labour

  • Overview
  • Industrial Relations
  • Labour Inspections
  • Employment
  • Child Labour
  • Registration of Employment Agencies

The Labour Department through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) has been given the mandate to provide the policy and legal framework for the administration and management of labour. The department is responsible for administering labour laws to ensure compliance and protection for workers' and employers' rights, facilitating social dialogue between employers and employees in order to ensure industrial harmony in addition, the Department is in charge of the employment exchange services for the purpose of placing unskilled and skilled Labour in decent employment.

This Department administers and enforces Labour laws, mitigates in promotion and maintenance of Industrial peace and harmony; settlement of disputes pertaining to Industrial and Labour relations matters, as well as ensures that there is full protection of workers' and employers’ rights, in a safe working environment through inter alia Labour Inspections. The Department comprises three units namely Industrial Relations, Labour Inspection and Employment Unit


  • Resolution of Labour Complaints 

  • employment Agency Certificate Permit

  • Renewal of Employment Agency Permit

  • Attestation of Contracts and Conditions of Services

  • Certificate of Registration of Trade Union 

  • Approval of Recognition Agreement 

  • Approval and Resgitarstion of Collective Agreement 

  • Mediation of Industrial Unrest

  • Collective Dispute Conciliation

  • Trade Union Elections Report

Industrial Relations is the interaction between government, workers and employers on all work-related issues, involving Trade Unions, Employers Associations or Federation. This section takes into account issues related to Recognition Agreements, Collective bargaining and agreements, settlement of collective disputes, Tripartite Consultative Labour Council meetings and enforcement of the Industrial Labour Relations Act CAP 269. Click here to download the registration form for trade union/representative body

This subsystem is concerned primarily with securing the enforcement of the legal provisions relating to conditions of work such as protection of wages, workers welfare, enforcement of contracts for instance minimization of casual or child labour, Collective Agreements and basic occupational health and safety standards for workers in industrial as well as commercial workplaces.

Focus is on all employment-related programmes and activities such as management of Public Exchange Services, employment permits screaning, labour market information, Zambianisation programmes, welfare and development services so as to harmonize the employment patterns and labour market information in the country.

The child labour unit which falls under the inspection unit was established for the purposes of ensuring that issues of child labour are addressed. The Unit carries out inspections related to children working in establishments and also liaises with cooperating partners such ILO and other social partners of which many are NGOs. A number of projects have been carried by the Ministry through the child labour unit with a lot of assistance from the ILO of which include the time-bound programme and the programme on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour.

The Employment Act Cap 268 of the Laws of Zambia, provides for registration of Employment Agencies and forbids anyone to operate or cause to operate any employment agency except under license from the Labour Commissioner.  The license is given for a period of one year. The following are the requirements;

  • Certificate of incorporation of the company
  • Company profile
  • Qualifications for the proprietor
  • License fees

And any other information that may be required

Once these requirements are met, an inspection of the premises is carried out after which the Labour Commissioner either grants or not, depending on the recommendation of the report. Once the license is granted, it runs for one year after which it is supposed to be renewed. Click to download the application form

The Labour Commissioner will inform the person;

(i). Whose application for the grant or renewal of a license has been refused, or whose license has been suspended or cancelled, of the reasons for such refusal, suspension or cancellation, as the case may be;

(ii). Whose application for the grant or renewal of a license is to be granted subject to such terms and conditions as he may consider necessary, of the reason for the imposition of such terms and conditions.

Any person who, being an applicant for the grant or renewal of a license, is aggrieved by the decision of the Labour Commissioner; or being the holder of a license, is aggrieved by any suspension or cancellation;

  • may, within thirty days of being notified of the Labour Commissioner’s decision, appeal to the court and the court, in deciding the appeal, shall have and may exercise the same powers and discretions as the Labour Commissioner.

An employment agency is to charge a prospective employer such fees as may be agreed between them however the employment agency shall not charge the prospective employee for any services rendered and any person who contravenes this provisions shall be guilty of an offence.

The employment agencies are obliged to keep registers and records which are to be submitted to the Labour Commissioner and such returns as may be prescribed.

It is important to note that any employment agency:

(a). knowingly deceiving any person by giving false information, or

(b). making or causing to be made or knowingly allowing to be made any register, record or return which is false in any material particular;

Shall be guilty of an offence.

In conclusion, any person who engages in or assists a person engaged in recruiting persons as an employment agency without a license shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand penalty units or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both.