Table of Contents

Uganda

Table of Contents

Currency

Ugandan Shilling (UGX)

Payroll Frequency

Bi-weekly, Monthly

Employer Taxes

10%

About Uganda

Uganda is an East African country bordering Kenya and DRC, as well as Lake Victoria. The country’s economy relies on agriculture associated with fertile soils and regular rainfall. Uganda also has substantial natural resources such as copper, gold and oil reserves that supplement the country’s economy. Uganda has several protected conservation areas, including several national parks. Although landlocked, Uganda contains many large lakes including Lakes Victoria, Kyoga, as well as Albert, Edward, and George. Uganda has experienced relative political stability after Museveni ascended to power in 1986 following decades of internal strife. Uganda consists of nine ethnic groups with English as its official language. Ugandans are mostly Christians, with a significant minority of Muslims.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

Uganda's Employment Act does not specifically define permanent employment or prohibit hiring fixed-term contract workers for tasks of a permanent nature.

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Uganda's Employment Act describes a "contract of service" or "contract of employment" as any contract, whether oral or written, whether expressed or implied, where a person agrees to work for an employer in return for remuneration. Uganda's labor law does not prohibit hiring fixed-term contract workers for tasks of a permanent nature. There are no specific provisions in the Employment Act concerning the maximum duration or renewals of fixed-term contracts. The Act does contain some provisions on specific categories of temporary employees, namely casual employees, piece work employees, and task work employees.

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

Although Uganda's Employment Act does not specifically address temporary employees, Uganda's Employment Regulations include special provisions regarding certain temporary employees (namely, casual employees, piece work employees, and task work employees). Casual employees can be employed for up to four months. If these employees are engaged continuously for 4 months, they cease to be casual employees and acquire all rights and benefits enjoyed by other employees. Where a casual employee is laid off by an employer and rehired, the continuous service period is not regarded as broken. Piece work is any employment where a worker is paid a fixed piece rate for each unit produced or action performed, regardless of time worked. Piece work employees may be engaged for a maximum of 3 months without a contract. Piece work employees must be paid at the end of each month in proportion to the amount of work performed during that month or on completion of that work, whichever date is earlier. Task work employees are defined as employees who perform their work based on a daily task, that is, an amount of work performed in a day of not more than 8 working hours.

Probationary Period

Per Uganda's Employment Act, the maximum length of a probationary period is 6 months. However, the probationary period may be extended for a further period of not more than 6 additional months with the employee's agreement. An employer may not place the same employee under probation twice. A probationary contract may be terminated by either party after giving at least a 14-day notice or by the employer after paying 7 days' wages in lieu of notice.

Working Hours

Per Uganda's Employment Act, the maximum working hours for employees are generally 48 hours per week and 8 hours per day. However, an employee and employer may agree in advance to increase the maximum working hours per week to more than 48 hours. In that case, hours of work shall not exceed 10 hours per day or 56 hours per week. Even then, it is permissible to employ shift workers for more than 10 hours in any one day or 48 hours in any 1 week (without paying overtime) as long as the average number of hours over a period of three weeks does not exceed 10 hours per day and 56 hours per week. In any organization where the maximum working hours are at least 8 hours per day, a 30-minute break must be granted to employees. After consultation with the Labor Advisory Board, the Minister may regulate the maximum number of hours per week (including overtime work) that may be worked in any industry or occupation. By order, the minister may also provide for temporary exceptions in extraordinary situations where the public interest requires.

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

January 1 (New Year’s Day), Jan 26 (Liberation Day), Date variable (Good Friday and Easter Monday), March 8 (Women’s Day), May 1 (Labor Day), June 3 (Martyr’s Day), June 9 (National Heroes Day), Date variable (Eid al-Fitr, End of Ramadan), October 9 (Independence Day), Date variable (Eid al-Adha, Feast of the Sacrifice), December 25 (Christmas Day), December 26 (Boxing Day). Other Holidays, January 26 (NRM Liberation Day), February 16 (Archbishop Janan Luwum Day).

• Paid Annual Leave

In Uganda, all employees who have performed continuous service for their employer for a minimum period of 6 months and those who normally work under a contract of service for 16 hours a week or more are entitled to annual leave. Per Uganda's Employment Act, an employee is entitled to 21 annual paid leave days each year at the rate of 7 days for each continuous 4-month period of service. Employees can take their annual leave at any time during a particular calendar year, subject to any prior agreement they have made with their employer. The 21 days of leave only includes working days. Public holidays are also not counted as leave days. If an employee gets sick during annual leave, it will still be counted as part of annual leave and not sick leave. Annual leave days cannot be carried forward into another calendar year unless the employee and employer mutually agree to do so. 

• Sick Leave

Per Uganda's Employment Act, an employee who has completed at least one month of continuous service (and at least 16 hours per week) with an employer and is incapable of work because of sickness or injury is entitled to sick pay as follows: For the first month's absence from work, the employee is entitled to full wages and all other benefits stipulated in the service contract. If the sickness continues after the first month, the employer is entitled to terminate the service contract upon compliance with all terms within it. The employer bears the full cost of sick leave. For the employee to be entitled to sick pay, they must notify (or cause to be notified) the employer of their absence and the reason for it as soon as is reasonably practicable. If requested by their employer, the employee must also produce a written certificate signed by a qualified medical practitioner certifying the employee's incapacity for work and the duration of the incapacity.

• Maternity Leave

In Uganda, female employees are entitled to 60 working days of fully paid maternity leave, of which at least 4 weeks must follow childbirth or miscarriage. The employer is responsible for paying 100% of the employee's earnings during maternity leave. A female employee who becomes pregnant has the right to return to the job she held immediately before her maternity leave or to a reasonably suitable alternative job on terms and conditions equally favorable to those she would have received had she not been absent on maternity leave. In the event of sickness arising out of pregnancy or confinement that affects either the mother or the baby and makes the mother's return to work inadvisable, the right to return must be available within 8 weeks after the date of childbirth or miscarriage.

• Paternity Leave

In Uganda, male employees are entitled to a period of 4 working days of paternity leave per year. The leave must be taken immediately after the wife's delivery or miscarriage. During this leave, the male employee is entitled to his regular wages, to be paid by the employer. After his paternity leave, a male employee has the right to return to the job which he held immediately before the leave.

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

Per Uganda's Employment Act, before deciding to dismiss an employee on the grounds of misconduct or poor performance, an employer must explain the reason for dismissal to the employee. In addition, the employee is entitled to have another person of their choice present during this conversation. Employers who fail to comply with this procedure are liable to pay the employee a sum equivalent to 4 weeks of net pay. The statutory minimum notice period in Uganda is established according to the employee's length of service: At least 2 weeks, for a period of service of more than six months but less than 1 year At least 1 month, for a period of service of more than 12 months but less than 5 years At least 2 months, for a period of service of more than five years but less than 10 years At least 3 months, for a period of service of 10 years or more. The notice must be in writing and in a form and language that the employee can reasonably be expected to understand. Employees may accept payment in lieu of notice. When the employee's pay period is longer than the period of notice to which the employee would be entitled, the employee is entitled to notice equivalent to that pay period.

• Severance Benefits

An employer must pay a severance allowance if an employee has been in continuous service with the employer for a period of six months or more and where any of the following conditions apply: The employer unfairly dismisses the employee. The employee dies in their employer's service (other than a death caused by the employee's own serious and willful misconduct). The employee terminates their contract because of a physical incapacity (not brought about by their own serious and willful misconduct). A labor officer terminates the contract following the inability or refusal of the employer to pay wages. Payment of a severance allowance is not required in the following circumstances: The employee is summarily dismissed with justification. The employee is dismissed by the employer and unreasonably refuses to accept an offer of re-employment by the employer at the same workplace and under terms and a wage rate no less favorable than they had when employed immediately before dismissal. The employee abandons their employment or absconds from their place of work without leave for a period of more than 3 days without an explanation being provided to the employer. A severance allowance is not required upon the termination of a probationary contract. The amount of severance pay is to be negotiated between the employer and the employee or union representing the employee.