practice area articles


January 25, 2021

By Abigail Shansonga, Bridgette Shamankomba, Charles Mkokweza,Karen Fulton, Nonkululeko Mkhwanazi and Bulela Mungeka 

Back to International Employment Law




Enactment of the Employment Code Act

The Employment Code Act (Act No.3 of 2019) came into force on 9 May 2019, and seeks to consolidate employment legislation in Zambia by repealing and replacing the Employment Act, the Employment (Special Provisions) Act, the Employment of Young Persons and Children Act, and the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act.

Although the Employment Code Act came into force in May 2019, a grace period of one year applies to contracts of employment that were executed before the new Act came into force in order to enable employers to comply with its provisions.

The key changes include:

  • the inclusion of additional leave entitlements and benefits;
  • the addition of standard redundancy procedures for written contracts;
  • the mandatory payment of gratuity for employees on fixed-term contracts;
  • the introduction of the entitlement to a severance pay under certain circumstances; and
  • the introduction of overtime pay for all employees who work beyond 48 hours per week, including employees in higher or management positions.


New regulations regarding National Health Insurance

  • The Government of Zambia has recently issued the National Health Insurance (General) Regulations to implement the National Health Insurance Act which came into force in October 2018. The National Health Insurance Act was enacted to establish a national health insurance scheme and health insurance fund in order to provide quality insured healthcare services to all Zambians by the year 2021. The Regulations provide for the development of specific benefit packages for registered members, set out the criteria for accreditation of healthcare services providers, as well as details in respect of applications for health insurance payment mechanisms.
With thanks to Karen Fulton, Nonkululeko Mkhwanazi and Bulela Mungeka of Bowmans for their invaluable collaboration on this update.




Introduction of the National Health Insurance Act No. 2 of 2018

On 9 April 2018, the National Health Insurance Act was passed. The Act seeks to provide financing for the national health system and universal access to quality insured health care services for all Zambians through risk pooling. The Act also establishes the National Health Insurance Scheme and National Health Insurance Fund which will receive employer and employee contributions. The Act is not yet in effect as a commencement order is yet to be issued.


Amendment of Minimum Wages and Conditions Act of Employment (General) Order S.I. 71 of 2018 and (Shop workers) Order S.I. 70 of 2018

On 7 September 2018, the Minister of Labour and Social Security issued a Statutory Instrument amending the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment (General) Order and (Shop Workers) Order.

Key amendments include:

  • under the General Order: “protected employee” status for assistant sales persons, packers, pump attendants, sales persons and service station attendants, an increase in the minimum wages for protected employees, the introduction of paternity leave, nursing leave for a hospitalized spouse or child and revised funeral assistance, transport and lunch allowance; and
  • under the Shop Workers Order: an increase in minimum monthly wage, revised shift differential rates, introduction of paternity leave, nursing leave for hospitalized spouse or child, revised funeral assistance, transport and lunch allowance.
With thanks to Abigail Shansonga, Bridgette Shamankomba and Charles Mkokweza of Corpus Legal Practitioners for their invaluable collaboration on this update.


Image: Suzanne Horne
Suzanne Horne
Partner, Employment Law Department

Image: Kirsty Devine
Kirsty Devine
Associate, Employment Law Department

Image: Aashna Parekh
Aashna Parekh
Associate, Employment Law Department