Hire in Uganda
Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in Uganda.
Currency of Uganda
Ugandan Shilling (UGX)
The Capital of Uganda
Time Zone in Uganda
Important Facts About the Country of Uganda
Introduction to Uganda
Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda, is an East African landlocked nation. It has a population of over 49 million, of which 8.5 million reside in Kampala, its capital and largest city. The territory was governed as a protectorate by the UK beginning in 1894, which established administrative law throughout the territory. Uganda obtained independence from the UK in 1962.
What to Know about Uganda's Geography
Uganda spans an area of approximately 240,000 square kilometers and shares borders with Kenya to the east, South Sudan to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Rwanda to the southwest and Tanzania to the south. The landscape of the country is varied, encompassing volcanic hills, mountains and lakes. On average, Uganda sits at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level.
Climate in Uganda
Uganda’s tropical climate is influenced by elevation and the presence of lakes. Due to its equatorial location, the sun’s declination at midday changes little and results in roughly 12 hours of daylight almost all year round. Precipitation is generally sufficient across most of Uganda.
The Culture of Uganda
Ugandans have diverse lifestyles and interests, shaped by their cultural diversity. The country has a rich theatrical tradition, from the bustling National Theatre in Kampala to numerous local theatrical groups. Small video booths, found in towns and rural trading centers, are also popular sources of entertainment.
Religions Observed in Uganda
Uganda has three predominant religious traditions: indigenous religions, Islam and Christianity. Approximately 80% of the population are Christians, with Roman Catholics and Protestants being the majority. Muslims comprise around 12% of the population, with the rest following traditional religions.
Languages Spoken in Uganda
At least 32 languages are spoken in Uganda, but English, Swahili, and Ganda are the most commonly used. English is the official language for education and government, but only a small portion of the population is proficient in it. Swahili was selected as the other official language for regional integration, despite Ugandans’ lower command of it compared to their neighboring countries.
Ugandan Human Resources at a Glance
Employment Law Protections in Uganda
The Employment Act 2006 is the primary legislation regulating employment relationships in Uganda. Other regulatory frameworks that apply to labor relations include The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, The Labor Unions Act, The Labor Disputes (Arbitrations and Settlement) Act, The Occupational and Safety and Health Act, The National Social Security Fund Act and others.
Employment Contracts in Uganda
Employment contracts can be oral or in writing. However, an employer must provide a written statement of particulars to employees within 12 weeks of starting employment., including the following details:
- Full names and addresses of the contracting parties
- Date of employment commencement
- Job title and workplace
- Wages including payment intervals and other deductions; rate of overtime pay
- Employee’s normal hours of work and the shifts or days of the week on which such work is to be performed
- The number of days of annual leave and wages during the period
- Terms relating to incapacity to work due to sickness or injury
- Length of notification period for termination of employment
The employer must provide this information in easily understandable language.
If the employment contract is modified, the employer must provide written notice to the employee. Additionally, an employer may retain a copy of written particulars and their amendments so it can be provided to a labor officer upon request.
Uganda's Contract Terms
Employment contracts in Uganda can be set for open-ended or fixed-term, part-time or full-time.
Fixed Term Contacts for Ugandan Employees
Employers in Uganda can offer permanent positions to contract workers without any maximum duration or renewal requirements. However, there are provisions in place for certain types of temporary workers, such as casual workers, piece workers and task workers.
Generally, temporary workers can be employed for a maximum duration of four months. If a casual employee works for four months continuously, they are no longer considered a casual employee and is entitled to the same rights and benefits as other employees.
For piece-work employees without a contract, the maximum period of employment is three months.
There are no specific regulations on employee reference and background checks by employers,. These types of pre-employment checks are commonplace in many industries.
Uganda's Guidelines Regarding Probation Period/Trial Period
The maximum probation period in Uganda is six months and can be extended to one year with the employee’s consent. An employee may not be placed on probation twice by the same employer. During the probation period, either the employee or employer can terminate the employment contract by giving 14 days’ notice or by the employer paying seven days’ wages in lieu of notice.
Regulations and Rules Regarding Working Hours in Uganda
In Uganda, the standard schedule for employees is eight hours per day and 48 hours per week. If an employee works overtime, the total working hours should not exceed 10 hours per day or 56 hours per week, except for shift workers.
Employees are also entitled to have 24 hours of uninterrupted rest each week, which can be taken on a customary rest day (Sunday) or a day agreed upon by both the employer and the employee.
Ugandan Laws Regarding Overtime
If employees work more than eight hours a day or 48 hours a week, they should receive a minimum of 1.5 times their regular hourly rate on weekdays and two times their normal hourly rate on public holidays.
Employers cannot terminate employees at will in Uganda and must have legitimate grounds for termination. Prior to termination, a fair hearing/consultation procedure should be followed, with the reasons for termination being explained.
Employers who terminate unfairly must compensate the affected employee with a basic compensation order for four weeks’ salary. If an employee is served a notice of termination by the employer, he or she may terminate the contract of employment before the end of the notice period without having to compensate the employer for the remainder of the notice period.
Uganda's Requirements Regarding Notice Periods
The required notice period depends on the employee’s length of service as follows:
- Less than six months of service: no note requirements
- Service of more than six months but less than one year: two weeks
- Service of more than 12 months but less than five years: one month
- Service of more than five years but less than 10 years: two months
- Service of 10 years or more: three months
Payment in lieu of notice is allowed; however, the employer must obtain the employee’s consent before making the payment. If the employee does not consent, the employer must allow the employee to continue working until the end of the notice period.
Redundancy/Severance Pay in Uganda
Employers are required to provide severance pay in the following circumstances:
- Cases of unfair dismissal
- If an employment contract is terminated due to the employer’s insolvency or death
- If the employee dies while in the employ of the employer
- If the employee terminates the contract due to physical incapacity
To qualify for severance pay, the affected employee must have completed a minimum of six months of continuous service. The amount of severance pay is negotiated between the employer and the employee or the labor union representing the employee.
Post-Termination Restraints/Restrictive Covenants
Restrictive covenants are only permissible in narrow and justifiable circumstances. The duration is usually no longer than six to 12 months.
Data Protection in Uganda is governed by the Data Protection and Privacy Act 2019, which requires employers to obtain explicit consent from employees before collecting and processing their personal data.
Tax and Social Security Information for Employers in Uganda
Personal Income Tax in Uganda
According to tax law in Uganda, employers are obligated to withhold, declare and pay the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax to the tax authority within 15 days after the end of the month in which the tax was due.
The following tax brackets apply to employment income for residents of Uganda:
|Monthly Taxable Income (UGX)
|0 – 235,000
|Exceeding 235,000 but not exceeding 335,000
|10% on the amount exceeding 235,000
|Exceeding 335,000 but not exceeding 410,000
|10,000 + 20% of the amount exceeding 335,000
|25,000 + 30% of the amount exceeding 410,000; 25,000 + 30% of the amount exceeding 410,000; And where the chargeable income of an individual exceeds 10,000,000, an additional 10% on the amount exceeding 10,000,000
Social Security in Uganda
Under the National Social Security Fund Act of Uganda, employers are required to make monthly contributions. The employer contributes 10% of the employee’s salary, while the employee contributes 5%. Both of these contributions are deducted from the employee’s paycheck at the time of payment. There are no minimum or maximum earnings used to calculate these contributions.
*The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged will differ.
Important Information for Ugandan Employees
Employers must pay their employees their remuneration promptly. Hourly and daily workers must receive their pay at the end of the current day or week, while those who are paid on a biweekly or monthly basis must be paid at the end of every fortnight or month.
Employers are required to provide itemized payslips in writing to all employees. These payslips should show the employee’s gross compensation and provide information about the amount and purpose of any deductions.
Employees are entitled to a minimum of 21 days of paid annual leave, accruing at a rate of seven days for each continuous period of four months of service. It is not valid for an employee to relinquish their right to annual leave in exchange for monetary compensation. Failure to apply for leave within a certain year implies forfeiture of the employee’s right to leave.
In the event of termination, an employee is entitled to compensation for any unused annual leave.
If an employee is unable to work due to illness, they are entitled to full pay and other benefits for the first month of absence. This applies to employees who work at least 16 hours per week and have completed at least one month of continuous service.
If an employee is still unable to work due to sickness at the end of the second month, the employer may terminate their employment.
To be eligible for sick pay, employees must promptly notify their employer of their absence and provide a written certificate from a qualified medical practitioner.
Compassionate & Bereavement Leave
Employees are entitled to three paid days of compassionate leave on a single occasion and a maximum of six paid days in a given calendar year due to the death of a family member or dependent relative.
Maternity & Paternity Leave
Female employees are entitled to 60 working days of paid maternity leave. They must provide at least seven days written notice before beginning their leave and returning to work afterward. Maternity leave can be extended by 20 additional workdays in exceptional circumstances, such as illness related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Male employees are entitled to four paid days of paternity leave per year following the birth of a child or a miscarriage of a wife.
There are 15 public holidays in Uganda. If employees are required to work on public holidays, they are entitled to compensation equal to 200% of their regular wage.
Benefits to the Employee in Uganda
Ugandan Statutory Benefits
All employees are entitled to public holidays, annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, and compassionate leave. Employees who contribute to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) are entitled to the following five benefits:
- Age benefit
- Withdrawal benefit
- Invalidity benefit
- Emigration grant
- Survivor’s benefit
Employers in Uganda frequently offer employment insurance and health insurance as supplemental employee benefits. These types of insurance policies are handled by private service providers.
Rules Regarding Visas and Foreign Workers in Uganda
Foreign nationals planning to work in Uganda, whether for paid employment or as volunteers, are required to obtain a work permit. It’s crucial for them to choose the appropriate type of work permit before commencing the application process. The following are the common types of work permits for paid employment in Uganda:
- Class A and A2: For government employees, diplomats and government contractors
- Class B: For foreign nationals who intend to invest in the agricultural industry
- Class C: For foreign nationals who intend to invest in the mining industry
- Class D: For foreign nationals who intend to engage in business or commerce in Uganda
- Class E: For manufacturers who plan to invest in or establish a manufacturing business in Uganda
- Class F: For working professionals who intend to practice their profession in Uganda
The duration of work permits in Uganda varies from six months to 36 months.
Public Holidays Recognized by Uganda in 2024
|New Year’s Day
|NRM Liberation Day
|Archbishop Janani Luwum Day
|International Women’s Day
|National Heroes Day
* Religious holidays are confirmed closer to the date as they depend on the sighting of the moon.