The total wage labor force in 1996, the last year reported, was 33,908. As of 1997, approximately 65% of the workforce engaged in agriculture. The unemployment rate that year was 13.3%.
The government has issued a labor code establishing a wage structure, a system of job classification, and provisions for workers' compensation. Holidays are prescribed by law. According to the constitution, it is not lawful to work, to play games, or to engage in trade on Sunday. Workers have the right, in theory, to form unions under the 1964 Trade Union Act, but as of 2002, none had been formed. Various government agencies and public enterprises offer vocational training.
Child labor is not used in the wage sector and is virtually nonexistent throughout the economy. The workweek is limited to 40 hours. There is no set minimum wage. Generally, labors laws are well enforced on the main island of Tongatapu but are more inconsistently enforced on the outer islands.