Azerbaijan - Labor

In 2001, there were an estimated 3.7 million workers in the labor force. Agriculture and forestry accounted for 40% of employment; industry, 7%; and services 53%. As of 2001, the estimated unemployment rate stood at 16%.

The constitution provides for the right to form labor unions, but in practice this right is limited and unions are generally not effective in wage negotiations. Collective bargaining is at a rudimentary level; wages are still set by government ministries for organizations within the budget. Most major industries are state-owned and the government runs the largest industrial and white-collar unions. Police, military, and customs are prohibited from forming unions, and trade unions may not participate in political activity.

Although the minimum wage alone is far below the level needed to support a worker and family, the reliance on outside income sources and the structure of extended families generally ensure a decent living. In addition, most workers earn in excess of the minimum wage. The legal workweek is 40 hours. There is a minimum working age of 16 with exceptions for children as young as 14 to work during vacations.

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