The workforce is primarily engaged in the state-owned phosphate industry, with public administration, education and transportation providing employment as well. Only about 1% of employment is in the private sector. As of 1992, there were some 3,000 guest workers in Nauru, mostly from Vanuatu or Kiribati. Unemployment is virtually nonexistent. There were no trade unions or labor organizations as of 2002. The right to strike is neither protected or prohibited. Collective bargaining does not take place.
In 2002, the annual minimum wage in the public sector was $6,562 for workers over 21 years of age. This provides an adequate standard of living for a family. The workweek for office employees is set at 36 hours, and for manual laborers the standard is 40 hours. The minimum age for employment is 17 years, although some younger children work in the few family-owned small operations. The government enforces health and safety standards in the workplace.