The labor force in 2002 numbered 1.026 million. In 2001, the unemployment rate stood at an estimated 40%. All workers are legally entitled to form or join unions and to strike, but labor activity is limited due to high unemployment rates and economic hardship. Unions are highly politicized and are formed along ethnic lines. Strikes were used frequently in 2001 as a form of protest against arrears in salaries and overdue wages.
The minimum employment is 15, however, many younger children often assist with family agricultural work. As of 2001, the minimum wage was $100 per month in the Federation and $32 in Republika Srpska. The legal workweek in both entities is 40 hours although seasonal workers may work up to 60 hours per week. Rules regarding rest and vacation vary. Safety and health regulations are generally ignored due to the economic devastation of war.