The DRC has a sizable labor force of some 14.51 million workers, but working conditions for the average Congolese are abysmal. Most Congolese work in the agricultural sector. The average income of a Congolese worker does not provide a sufficient income to sustain a family. In fact, most Congolese earn less than $40 a month. Most workers supplement their income by doing odd jobs besides their usual work and depend heavily on the assistance of their extended families. The government has established minimum wage scales for workers, but wages have not kept pace with inflation, making such wage scales nearly meaningless.
The country created the 1967 Labor Code to provide guidelines for labor practices, including the employment of women and children, anti-discrimination laws, and restrictions on working conditions. The collapse of the economy and the corruption in the government have destroyed the enforcement of most such laws. Several of the limited number of larger employers, however, pay for benefits for their employees and may even provide roads, schools, and hospitals for the local community.
The employment of children of all ages is not uncommon in the informal sector and in subsistence agriculture, which are dominant portions of the economy. Such employment is often the only way a child or family can obtain money for food. Neither the Ministry of Labor, which is responsible for enforcement, nor the labor unions make an effort to enforce child labor laws.