Practice Area Articles


February 05, 2024

By Paul Hastings Professional

Back to International Employment Law




Developments in the guaranteed minimum wage

The Prime Minister adopted a Decree in March 2023 to fix the guaranteed minimum wage (“GMW”). The effectiveness of the Decree on GMW can be observed in its application across both public and private sectors. Since its adoption, the minimum wage in Cameroon has undergone revision, with the latest change taking effect on 21 March 2023. The national minimum wage has seen an increase from XAF 36,270 to XAF 41,875 per month. Employers are required to adhere to the provisions outlined in Decree no. 2023/00338/PM. Employers should additionally remain aware of any possible changes to the GMW in 2024, following sustained trade union pressure in favour of an increase to XAF 62,000, recommended by union representatives following government negotiations, or even to XAF 150,000, proposed by the trade unions’ coalition.


Regulatory ratification on domestic labour conventions

Briefings were held in 2023 by trade unions and the International Labour Organization (“ILO”), focusing on the urgency for Cameroon to ratify Convention N° 189 on Domestic Labour (the “Convention”). The Convention was adopted in 2011 during Cameroon's term in the ILO chair. However, Cameroon has yet to ratify this crucial Convention that guarantees workers the promotion of their human rights, as well as the respect and protection of fundamental principles and rights at work. These encompass the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the eradication of forced or compulsory labour, the abolition of child labour, and the elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.

Despite their significant contributions to the economy, domestic workers often face unequal treatment. Some live-in domestic workers face long working days, with early starts and late finishes. Even those who work and return home often face an excessive workload, undertaking tasks meant for multiple people, receiving low wages and poor treatment from employers and family members. These workers should have the same rights as others, including improved wages and working conditions. However, this is not consistently been the case. Many domestic workers are not registered with the National Social Fund; even registered domestic workers do not receive maternity allowances and other entitlements. Some endure various abuses, including physical, sexual and psychological violence, often receiving salaries below minimum wage. Despite the legal requirement for domestic workers to be at least 15 years old, instances of 12-year-olds performing domestic work for pay persist. The existing legal framework on domestic labour is outdated, highlighting the urgent need for a comprehensive review of legislation to align with international standards.

With thanks to Karen Fulton, Sian Gaffney, Aneesa Valodia, and Layla Shah of Bowmans and Jean-Aime, Nuno Gouveia, and Silvia Carvalho of Miranda & Associados for their invaluable collaboration on this update.




A statute authorizing the President of the Republic of Cameroon to ratify the Multilateral Social Security Convention of the inter-African conference on social security (CCIPRES), adopted on 27 February 2006 in Dakar (Senegal), is to be adopted soon. The foreign affairs committee of the Parliament has validated the statute and the Statute is now before the Finance committee of the lower house of Parliament for examination.

It is an important statute aimed at protecting migrant workers. Cameroonians are proud of that this statute will be adopted considering that the objective will be to protect their countrymen wherever they are.

The ratification process is taking its course within the States. Out of the 17 member States of CIPRES, nine have already ratified this Convention. These nine States are: Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Niger, Senegal, Togo, the CAR and the Comoros. The CIPRES Treaty, which was established in 1993 and revised in 2014, has been ratified by Cameroon, respectively, in 1995 and 2020. This Treaty consolidates the links of economic and social integration, and strengthens the promotion of the rationalization of social security systems in Africa. It guarantees the principle of equal treatment of migrant workers with nationals with regards to the various national legislations on social security.

This convention will allow Cameroonian migrant workers, their families and, if necessary, their survivors, to benefit from better social protection in the other African signatory states, in particular with regards to: old-age, disability and survivors’ benefits; benefits for work accidents and occupational diseases; family and maternity benefits; and sickness benefits.

With thanks to Karen Fulton, Tshepo Mokoana and Tarika Patel of Bowmans for their invaluable collaboration on this update.




Measures to contain the spread of COVID‑19

In a bid to curb the spread of the Covid‑19 virus, the Cameroonian Government took the following decisions:

  • On 18 March 2020, the Cameroonian Prime Minister closed its land, air, and sea borders.
  • On 30 March 2020, the Minister of Health announced the imminent launch of a door‑to‑door coronavirus test campaign in the economic capital. The said test lasted from 2nd to 6th April.
  • On 10 April 2020, the Government took seven additional measures to stop the spread of COVID‑19 in Cameroon. These measures included wearing a mask in all areas open to the public, local production of drugs, screening tests, protective masks and hydro‑alcoholic gels and establishment of specialized COVID‑19 treatment centres in all regional capitals amongst others. The said measures took effect on Monday, 13 April 2020.
  • On 15 April 2020, following the claims of the Human Rights Commission of the Cameroon Bar Association, the Cameroonian President announced the release of certain prisoners in connection with COVID‑19.
  • On 5 May 2020, the Minister of Health announced the provision to healthcare personnel of 50,000 coveralls, 320,000 surgical masks, 220 backpack sprayers, and 10,000 pairs of overshoes.
  • In June 2020, the Government announced that the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations would be postponed until 2022.
  • In his end of year address to the nation, the President of the Republic reiterated the importance of wearing masks in public places and respecting barrier measures.


Suspension of employment contracts for economic reasons

The Cameroonian Labour Code makes provision for companies to terminate employment contracts due to economic reasons. This is a measure that many companies have resorted to as a result of the economic hardship they have encountered due to COVID‑19.

With thanks to Karen Fulton and Bulela Mungeka of Bowmans for their invaluable collaboration on this update.




Disability legislation introduced regarding protection and promotion

The Government of Cameroon approved the Decree nº 2018/6233/PM, of 26 July 2018, for the implementation of Law no. 2010/002, of 13 April 2010, on the Protection and Promotion of Disabled People. This statute promotes the education and professional training of disabled persons, setting up training centres adapted to disabled persons and establishes some preferential treatment of disabled persons on vocational training and on jobs specifically created by the State or international organisations.


Vocational training becomes a national priority

Law no. 2018/010 which came into force on 11 July 2018, imposes obligations in relation to vocational training on the State of Cameroon to establish general guidelines and ensuring the guidelines on vocational training is in the two official languages (French and English). Continuous vocational training is also covered by this statute, which means that when a worker benefits from training, it may be agreed that the worker must remain employed for a given period based on the vocational training provided or in respect of further training costs.


New legislation regarding apprenticeships

Without prejudice to the application of provisions of the Cameroon Labour Code, Law nº 2018/10, of 11 July 2018 established a new regime whereby no person below the age of fourteen may be engaged under an apprenticeship agreement or scheme, and the apprenticeship manager must be aged at least 21 years with no criminal record.

With thanks to Jean Aimé Kounga of The Abeng Law Firm and Nuno Gouveia and João Gama Gonçalves of Miranda & Associados for their invaluable collaboration on this update.

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Suzanne Horne

Partner, Employment Law Department

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Aashna Parekh

Associate, Employment Law Department

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