Marshall Islands - Labor

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The labor force numbered 28,698 in 2002. Approximately 58% of the labor force was engaged in the service sector, with 21% in industry and 21% in agriculture. In 1999, the estimated unemployment rate was 31%.

Although the constitution provides for the freedom of association, and the government construes this to include labor organization, as of 2002, no labor unions existed. There is no statutory provision permitting strikes by workers nor is there a right to collectively bargain or organize. Generally wages are set in accordance with the minimum wage regulation and determined in part by market influence.

There is no prohibition against child labor but the law requires compulsory education until the age of 14. In practice this requirement is not effectively enforced, and many children work, especially in the fishing industry. A minimum wage of $2 per hour was in place by the government in 2002. There are no laws concerning maximum work hours or health and safety in the workplace.

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