The labor force in 1999 was estimated at seven million persons. Agriculture employs approximately 80% of the workforce. There is a high unemployment rate in this very poor country.
Both public and private sector workers have the right to establish and join labor unions of their choice. However, only 5% of the total force was unionized in 2002. Unions are required to register with the government, but authorization is customarily given. The law provides for collective agreements between employers and trade unions. Strikes are legally permitted.
Working conditions are regulated by the constitution and the labor code. The law sets the minimum working age at 14 (18 where the work is hazardous) but this minimum is enforced only in the small formal sector of the economy. In the large agricultural sector, many children work with their parents on family farms. The minimum wage was $25 per month in 2002, but this is not regularly enforced due to harsh economic realities. The standard legal workweek is 40 hours in industry, and 42.5 hours in agriculture.