According to official 2002 estimates, about 3.6 million persons were economically active. As of that year, more than 90% were engaged in subsistence agriculture. The government is the largest single employer of wage laborers.
The Central Union of Rwandan Workers (CESTRAR), Rwanda's largest and formerly sole authorized trade union organization, separated from the government and the MRND in 1991 as part of the political reforms under the new constitution. Four new independent unions were recognized by the government in 1991–92: the Union Association of Health Personnel in Rwanda; the Interprofessional Union of Workers of Rwanda; the Union of Secondary School Teachers; and the Association of Christian Unions, which represents public and private sector workers, small businessmen, and subsistence farmers. Since the 1994 genocide, Rwanda's union movement has somewhat recovered from the collapse which it, like all other institutions in the country, suffered. About 75% of those active in the modern (wage) sector were unionized as of 2001.
While the pre-genocide labor law is still technically in effect, the government is unable to implement its provisions. The minimum legal age for regular employment is 18 (14 for apprenticeships). Minimum wages vary with position and sector. The legal standard workweek is 40 hours, with 45 being the maximum.