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Acceptable Conditions of Work
The law provides for a minimum wage, paid leave, severance benefits, and safety standards, but enforcement was targeted solely against profitable firms that generally observed these standards. Due to the country's continued economic problems, most citizens were forced to accept any work they could find regardless of wages or working conditions. The Ministry of Labor claimed it lacked the resources to monitor compliance with labor laws.
The law requires a minimum wage of approximately $0.25 (10 ld) per hour not exceeding 8 hours per day, excluding benefits, for unskilled laborers. The law requires that agricultural workers be paid $1.00 (60 ld) for an 8-hour day, excluding benefits. Skilled labor has no minimum fixed wage, but industrial workers usually received three or four times the wage paid to agricultural workers. The highly competitive minimum wage jobs provided a minimal standard of living for a worker and family; however, there were very few such jobs. Families dependent on minimum wage incomes also engaged in subsistence farming, small-scale marketing, petty extortion, and begging. Civil Servants salaries were in arrears for anywhere from 10 to 24 months, depending on the Ministry. The NTGL paid salaries for October, November and December; however, the arrears were not paid by year's end.
The law provides for a 48-hour, 6-day regular workweek with a 30-minute rest period per 5 hours of work. The 6-day workweek may extend to 56 hours for service occupations and to 72 hours for miners, with overtime pay beyond 48 hours.
There were government-established health and safety standards that the Ministry of Labor was responsible for enforcing; however, the Ministry rarely enforced them. The law does not give workers the right to remove themselves from dangerous situations without risking loss of employment.
The law protects legal, but not illegal, foreign workers.
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