The estimated workforce numbered 12 million in 2001. The vast majority of economically active Ugandans work outside the formal economy. Agriculture engaged over 82% of the population in 1999. Industry employed 5% of the labor force, with services accounting for the remaining 13%.
The Uganda Trades Union Congress was dissolved in 1973 and replaced by the National Organization of Trade Unions, which remains the largest labor federation. NOTU is independent of the government but has little influence in the economy since it claims only about 5% of the workforce. Strikes are permitted by law but are greatly restricted by lengthy and complicated procedures.
The minimum working age is 18 but many children work out of economic necessity and because school fees are so high. A large percentage of under-18 children do not attend school. Most children work in the informal sector. In 2002, the legal minimum wage remained at a level set in the early 1960s, at $3.50 per month. Wage earners are an extremely small percentage of the workforce. In this sector, the workweek is set at 40 hours. Most workers supplement their income with second jobs and family farming. Occupational safety regulations have existed since 1954 but the government lacks the resources to implement them.