Bhutan - Labor



About 93% of the economically active population consisted of agricultural workers in 2002, with 5% employed in services and the remaining 2% in industry and commerce. There is a severe shortage of skilled labor. The salaried labor market is predominantly in government service. Most of the industrial sector consists of home-based handicrafts and privately owned small or medium-scale factories producing consumer goods.

As of 2002, Bhutan had a government-set minimum wage of approximately $2.50 per day, which provides a decent standard of living for a family. The government also mandates overtime pay for work in excess of eight hours per day. Laborers are also entitled to one day's paid leave for every six work days, if the worker is retained on at least a monthly basis. The minimum work age is 18 years for citizens (20 years for non-citizens) although UNICEF has found that children as young as 11 are employed. Trade unions are illegal, and workers do not have the right to strike. Labor regulations do not provide a worker with the right to remove themselves from hazardous conditions, although the government provides free medical care to workers.

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