PROGRAM UNIT PDO 203: Employment Contract, Laws and Regulations


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2 Weeks
PDO 203



Plot 2632, Princess Road -Kimbejja Namugongo Division, Kira Municipality   View map


PDO Training

PROGRAM UNIT PDO 203: Employment Contract, Laws and Regulations

Session 1: Terms and Conditions of Employment

Session 2: Laws and Regulations

Session 3: Complaint and Grievance Management

PROGRAM UNIT PDO 203: Employment Contract, Laws and Regulations


Suggested Total Duration: 13 Hrs.

Suggested Duration



5 hrs Session 1: Terms and Conditions of Employment
4 hrs Session 2: Laws and Regulations
4 hrs Session 3: Complaints and Grievance Management


Module Aims

  • Be familiar with laws governing one’s migration from Uganda.
  • Understand the laws governing one’s migration in the destination country.
  • Be aware of the international labor standards and laws.
  • Understand the ways of dealing with complaints, conflicts and disputes.
  • Understand the terms and conditions of employment.




Session 1: Terms and Conditions of Employment     


Session Objectives

By the end of this session, participants should be able to:

  1. Explain the content of their employment contract.
  2. Demonstrate their understanding of salary computation.
  3. Interpret the meaning and length of probation period.
  4. Explain the terms and conditions of terminating a contract and its implication.


Suggested Duration 5 Hrs
2 hrs             Terms of the Offer

1 hr 30 min      Probation, Termination and Penalties

1 hr 30 min     Leave Procedures

Methodology:                   Presentations, case study, brainstorming, discussions, and guest speakers.
Facilitator Materials:       Flip charts, markers, video clips, and sample of employment contract.
Participants Materials:       Copies of the slides or takeaway notes.



Session Activities

  1. Ask participants if they have already signed their employment contract.
  2. Ask participants if they know the details of their employer or recruitment agency.
  3. Deliver the lecture on what should be in the employment contract and the different types and implications of the contracts.
  4. Deliver the lecture on the obligation of both the employer and employee.
  5. Brainstorm on the key features of the employment contract (see Annex).

NOTE: Have and use examples for each document that will be discussed. Check with all participants that they have all the documents and understand the importance of each.




Employment Contract

This is a document that you have to sign with your employer. This is an agreement between you and your employer with respect to the conditions of work, wages, and rest period, among other things. It is a legal document that lays down the duties and obligations you must fulfill for your employer and the corresponding obligations that the employer must abide by in return for your services.

  1. Make sure you obtain a copy of your contract while you are still in Uganda.
  2. You can get someone you trust to explain the details of the contract in your local language in case of any doubt before signing it.
  3. Be certain that you understand exactly what your contract says and where your workplace will be; the address of your workplace should be written in your contract.
  4. When you arrive at the destination country and you find that the work is not in line with what is stated in your contract, you should contact your recruitment agency or authorities for help.

Roles/Obligations of the Employer

  • Your employer is expected to cover all your recruitment costs working with the PRA in case you have paid recruitment fees.
  • Employers can set a probation period, which is normally three (3) to six (6) months. Your employment will be confirmed on successful completion of the probation period. During the probation period, the employer can terminate the contract with a proper notice period as per the terms set in the agreement/contract.

In case you wish to quit your job, find out about the notice period you must give your employer, as well as benefits like repatriation ticket (repatriation is when you go back to your home country; your employer may have to pay for your ticket home, depending on when and why you resign, as well as on your contract and the labor laws of the country you are working in).

  • Employees are entitled to paid leave and sick leave except during the probation period. Please check the terms and conditions of the contract/agreement.
  • Employers may also provide housing facilities and, in some cases, food, which will be specified in the work contract. Accommodation is normally in dormitories or apartments. The employer might also deduct money from the salary of a worker for housing and food.
  • The employer will also provide transport to and from work if your home is far away from the workplace.
  • The employer provides a safe place of work and is expected to treat employee with respect.
  • The employer has to give you days of rest as per your working schedule with a minimum of a full day each week.
  • The employer should provide the employee with health insurance and provide compensation in case of death, injury, and loss of wages in case of hospitalization caused by an accident during or outside working hours.

Roles/Obligations of the Employee

  • Complete your work to a high standard, efficiently and quickly. Personal tasks like talking on phone calls during work hours are generally not permitted.
  • Take care of equipment, machines, and tools. Your employer has invested in this equipment and expects you to take care of it.
  • Turn up to work neatly bathed, dressed, and groomed.
  • Clean up your workplace after your tasks are finished, clean up your tools and arrange them properly.
  • Obey the safety measures, follow ethical behaviors and other rules set by your employer. You may, otherwise, be terminated for misconduct; this can include:
  • Carelessness, putting yourself and others in danger, fraud, misappropriation, insubordination, etc.
  • Fighting, assault, quarrelling, gambling, damage to company property, drug abuse, etc.
  • Indecent act e.g., sexual harassment.
  • A worker can only work with the employer and in the profession specified in the visa. It is illegal to work with another employer or in a profession other than the one specified in the visa.
  • Change of profession is not allowed especially in the GCC countries. Other countries have different allowances and restrictions on the working permit restrictions.
  • Change of employer can be done only through the Labor Ministry with the approval of the previous employer, especially for the GCC countries.
  • If you run away from your employer or refuse to work, you could be declared as huroob (Away /absent from work) as per the GCC countries or a runaway by your employer. As a result, your stay in the country will become irregular and you stand to lose all your legal rights. You will also face difficulties in leaving the country.
  • It is the duty of the worker to perform the work in accordance with the instructions of the employer such as taking due care of the machinery, tools, supplies, and raw materials placed at his/her disposal, and/or abiding by proper conduct and ethical norms during work. To expect all assistance in cases of hazards threatening the workplace, the worker should undergo medical examinations required prior to or during employment to ensure that he/she is free from occupational or communicable diseases. And he/she should not disclose any information related to the work or firm to a third party which may cause damage to the employer’s interests.
  • Workers in the GCC countries have no right to strike or resort to agitations. It is illegal to do so, and one could be arrested, imprisoned and deported. Workers unions are not present in the GCC.

Migrants have the following rights:

  • The right to seek healthcare. Employers should provide you with health insurance. Depending on your contract, you may have to pay charges for treatment. Government-run clinics and hospitals are usually cheaper.
  • The right to seek justice. International conventions protect the right of everyone to seek justice. You have the right to a legal counsel, a fair and just trial, and the protection from baseless accusations.
  • You have a right to terminate your employment (resign) by giving notice in writing as per the days stipulated in your contract. You must prepare for the consequences of prematurely terminating your contract which may include (depending on the contract and how quickly the termination comes into effect) forfeiting one month’s wages and having to pay for your return flight. Your employer may also ask you for compensation and/or for the cost of your recruitment.


Probation Period

Probation period is the duration an employee will work for the employer as a trial. During this period, both the employee and employer are assessing their ability to execute the tasks given. It is the tial period. During this period, either the employer or employee can terminate the contract after giving notice.

Probation period varies from job to job; however, the period ranges from three (3) months to six (6) months, and terms of resignation after that period differ. Details of these terms are usually stipulated in the contract.

Note that every time you start a new job, it is a new contract and still must go through a probation period.


Termination Terms and Conditions

Termination of contract is when either the employer or employee cancels the contract. The employer decides he/she no longer wants the employee, or the employee decides he/she can no longer work for the employer.

There are many reasons why the employer can terminate the contract, such as:

  1. Misconduct of the employee (general bad behavior and conduct including late coming, not doing their job right or on time, and bad personality).
  2. Financial hardship of the employer (no longer able to pay the salary).
  3. End of contract and there is mutual understanding not to continue working together.

Reasons why the employee can terminate the contract

  • Mistreatment by the employer.
  • Failure to pay salary.
  • Having got a better opportunity.
  • Failure to handle the workload or obligations of the job.

How to terminate the contract

  1. Review your contract to know the terms of its termination.
  2. Give notice as per the contract.
  3. If you are in breach of the contract, you should be ready to pay as per the contract.



Penalties is money you pay for breach of contract. This is usually when an employee or employer does not abide with the terms set out in the contract and terminates the conract.

In some cases, one is expected to pay an equivalent of one month’s salary. For domestic workers, they are expected to pay the cost of their recruitment.

If a migrant is in breach of contract, he/she is expected to pay for their flight ticket back home.


Exercise 1

Use a large sheet of paper or flip chart and stick A5 pictures representing the minimum terms onto it as you explain what should be included and understood in any contract.

  • Names – your name and the employer’s name or recruitment agency’s name.
  • Where you are going to work.
  • What duties you will be expected to perform.
  • How much you will be paid, how overtime will be calculated and any deductions to be made.
  • What holidays, leave or time off you will receive.
  • Your employer’s address and phone number.
  • Termination guidelines – what happens at the end of your contract.
  • Dispute settlement procedures.
  • Insurance scheme that your employer must cover.



Exercise 2

Using“yes” and “no”, check that all migrants are familiar with the following requirements for a work permit:

  • That you are at least 21 years old.
  • That your employment is for at least two years and limited to a maximum of five years.
  • That the employer is responsible for your return to Uganda.
  • That the migrant worker should be provided with suitable accommodation, with men and women separated from each other.
  • That you are allowed to work only for the employer who brought you to the COD.
  • That the work permit should be processed by your employer and should be renewed three months before it expires.
  • That your employment can be terminated, and the work permit cancelled anytime subject to the law.



Session 2: Laws and Regulations


Session Objectives

By the end of this session, participants should be able to:

  1. Understand the laws governing migration in the COD.
  2. Understand the laws governing recruitment from Uganda.
  3. Be aware of the consequences of breaking the law in the COD.
  4. Understand issues that can cause one trouble in the COD.
  5. Be aware of the international standards governing migration and migrant workers.


Suggested Duration 4 Hrs
2 hrs              Uganda Regulation and Employment Laws

1 hr               Destination Country Employment Laws

1 hr             International Labor Standards

Methodology:                  Presentations, and guest speakers.
Facilitator Materials        Flip charts, markers, and video clips.
Participants Materials       Copies of the slides or takeaway notes.



Materials Needed

The facilitator should bring the trainees examples of the following:

  • Uganda regulatory documents and laws stipulated below.
  • Extract copies of the labour laws of the COD.
  • Extract copies of the international standards and conventions Uganda and the COD are party to.


Facilitator’s Instructions and Methods


  1. Start by explaining the concept of right and workers’rights. Make sure participants understand that they cannot contract away their fundamental rights under the COD laws and that all workers are entitled to these rights.
  2. Deliver a lecture by describing the meanings of the various laws and regulations.
  3. Deliver a lecture on how the various laws are important to the migrant workers and how they can be used to their benefit.
  4. Ask participants if they are aware of any right they will have in the COD.
  5. Allow participants to ask further questions.




Uganda’s Employment Laws and Regulations 

Recruitment and externalization of Ugandan migrant workers is the responsibility of the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development. However, the roles and duties of the ministry in this section are governed by the following legislative framework.


National Legislation – Uganda


The relevant national legislation on externalization of labor includes:

  1. The Employment Act, 2006.
  2. The Employment (Recruitment of Ugandan Migrant Workers Abroad) Regulations, 2005.
  3. The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2009.
  4. The Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act, 1999.
  5. The National Social Security Fund Act, 1985.


International and Regional Treaties

  1. The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, 1990.
  2. ILO Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997.
  3. Domestic Workers Convention, 2011. (depending on trainees’ audience)
  4. Migrant Workers Recommendation, 1975.


Objectives of the Uganda Recruitment and Employment Guidelines


The overall objective of the guidelines is to facilitate recruitment and mobility of Ugandans to decent employment opportunities and to better manage regular, orderly, and safe migration between Uganda and the destination countries.


Specific Objectives

  1. To promote decent work and high-quality placement and recruitment services for migrant workers abroad.
  2. To provide guidance to private recruitment companies/agencies and migrant workers on their obligations concerning the procedures for application for licenses, recruitment and the role of the different stakeholders.
  3. To promote ethical conduct by private recruitment companies/agencies in their operations.
  4. To minimize the chances of Ugandan migrant workers going through irregular means.
  5. To put in place a mechanism for remedy of the inhumane treatment and exploitation of the Ugandan migrant workers.



The spirit of the guidelines is based on the following principles:


  1. Non-discrimination – The guidelines shall guarantee equality of opportunity. No migrant worker shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, and social origin.
  2. Decent work – Decent employment provides motivation, good terms and conditions of work, productivity improvement, competitiveness and career progression. All parties shall refrain from exploitation, treatment of migrant workers as commodities and accord them greater human dignity and protection.
  3. Protection from forced labor – Protection of the rights of migrant workers shall be given priority by all stakeholders. No migrant worker shall be hired or recruited using forced or compulsory means nor be coerced into signing a contract without ascertaining the terms and conditions of work.
  4. Information sharing and transparency – All parties commit themselves to transparency and information sharing to facilitate better management and protection of the migrant workers in the country of destination.
  5. Professionalism – All parties shall cooperate to uphold professionalism, the code of conduct and ethics in their operations.
  6. Confidentiality – Personal information of the migrant workers shall be treated with confidentiality.


Destination Country Labor Laws

Destination country labor law varies from country to country. Each individual country, on top of following the international labor standards, has its specific labor laws. These laws will determine most of the details that pertain to a migrant’s legal and employment stay in the country of destination. The GCC countries in particular have relatively similar laws; however; there are equally some variations. (Details of destination countries are covered in PDO 205 – Destination Country.)


International Laws and Labour standards

  • Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97) – [ratifications ]
    This law requires ratifying states to facilitate international migration for employment by establishing and maintaining a free assistance and information service for migrant workers and taking measures against misleading propaganda relating to emigration and immigration. It includes provisions on appropriate medical services for migrant workers and the transfer of earnings and savings. States have to apply treatment no less favorable than that which applies to their own nationals in respect to a number of matters, including conditions of employment, freedom of association and social security.
  • Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143) – [ratifications ]
    This one provides for measures to combat clandestine and irregular migration while at the same time setting forth the general obligation to respect the basic human rights of all migrant workers. It also extends the scope of equality between legally resident migrant workers and national workers beyond the provisions of the 1949 Convention to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation, social security, trade union and cultural rights, and individual and collective freedoms for persons who as migrant workers or as members of their families are lawfully within a ratifying state’s territory. It further calls upon ratifying states to facilitate the reunification of families of migrant workers legally residing in their territory.



Session 3: Complaints and Grievance Management

Session Objectives      

By the end of this session, the participants should be able to:

  1. Understand and differentiate the terms (complaint, grievance and dispute).
  2. Know who can handle which complaint.
  3. Understand the procedure of lodging complaints.


Suggested Duration 4 Hrs
30 min            What is a Grievance, Dispute and Complaint?

1 hr 30 min      Complaint and Grievance Handling

2 hrs             How to handle and manage personal issues

Methodology:                Presentations, brainstorming, reflective practice, role play, and guest speakers.
Facilitator Materials:     Flip charts, markers, and video clips.
Participants Materials:    Copies of the slides or takeaway notes.



Session Activities:

  1. Use relevant examples to define the different terminologies related to conflict resolution (grievance, compliant, conflict and dispute).
  2. Deliver a lecture on the various mechanisms of managing conflict (interpersonal, mediation and official channels).
  3. Brainstorm on how to handle personal conflict issues.
  4. Share experience on how different migrants have ever handled conflicts.




Introducing the Topic – Conflict Resolution 

What is a grievance? – A real or imagine cause of complaint.

What is a complaint? – Expression of grief, pain or dissatisfaction. Also termed as a statement that something is unsatisfactory or unacceptable.

What is a dispute? – An argument or disagreement.

What is a conflict?  – Fight, battle, war or competitive or opposing actions of incompatibles.


There are three methods of conflict resolution:

  1. Inter-personal conflict resolution
  2. Mediation
  3. Resolution through official channels


Talk with Your Employer

Conflict may arise between you and your employer or any of his or her family members, or between you and your fellow employees. First, you can try to resolve the issue between you and the other party personally. As there may be a language barrier between you and your employer, you may need to seek assistance from a colleague who speaks both English and the local language or perhaps a friend who can help with the interpretation and translation.


Tips on Resolving the Issues


  1. Identify the root cause of the problem. Has the employer violated your rights, or have your failed to deliver work in accordance with your contract? Identify the cause before you begin negotiating.
  2. Be calm and polite. When confronted with issues or disputes, we tend to be emotional, and our speech may become loud and aggressive. Speak calmly, your manner of speaking during the negotiation should be polite and courteous.
  3. Have an open mind. You may insist on how you think things are, but be open to suggestions and clarification from the other party.
  4. Consider the other person’s perspective. Also listen to the other person and consider their views; they could be helpful in resolving the issue.
  5. In situation where your right has not been severely violated, you can try to reach a compromise. Find a way in which you can work together amicably.




This is a conflict resolution process where a neutral person acts as an intermediary between you and the other person. If it is difficult for you to approach the other party and talk your issues over, you may seek help of a third person. This person could be a friend, an NGO worker, the recruitment agency staff, a trade unionist, Embassy staff or somebody who understands how to facilitate your discussion.


Resolution Through Official Channels

Official complaints can be filed with authorities, such as the Labor department or your Embassy. These authorities will initiate an inquiry into your complaint. Disputes that reach this level will be resolved and may result in a decision that legally requires the other party to respond to the issues raised in the compliant. For example, the authorities may find violation of law and penalize the violators. This dispute resolution mechanism is used when other avenues, such as negotiation or mediation, cannot resolve the issue at hand.


How to Avoid Conflict / Problem Solving Skills


  1. Wait and cool off.
  2. Walk away and let it go.
  3. Tell them to stop.
  4. Ignore it.
5.     Talk it out.

6.     Apologize.

7.     Go to another activity.







Exercise – Role play

Instruct the participants to role-play the different steps of conflict resolution.

  • The trainer invites participants to lead a role-play. The other participants are asked to observe carefully.
  • Ask each participant to come up with a scenario and give them five minutes to get ready.
  • In case they do not have an idea ready, the facilitator may give them the following sample scenario.


Worker 1 comes to the group leader’s office because they have not received their pay for the past month.

Script for Worker 1: Worker 1 goes to the group leader to explain that they have not received their pay for the past month. Worker 1 notices that the previous month they were not paid the correct overtime rate.

Script for Group Leader 1: Group Leader 1 is cold and dismissive. Group Leader 1 speaks harshly to Worker 1, telling him or her to check their pay slip carefully and telling Worker 1 to discuss the pay directly after the worker receives their pay slips, and not waiting an entire month to raise the issue. The group leader tells the worker that the pay is correct.

After the role play, ask the actors to share their feelings and ask the observers to share theirs. Ask participants about the body language they observed and analyze the effects that the different body language produced. Ask how the worker or group leader could have communicated effectively.



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