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Rwanda: Labor Law Modified

(May 11, 2009) It was reported on May 5, 2009, that, after a prolonged debate, the Rwandan Chamber of Deputies passed a bill that modifies the labor law adopted in 2001. The change prolongs the possible working hours from 40 to 45 per week in all government departments, but leaves it to employers and employees to negotiate the maximum hours an individual employee may work per week, depending on the amount of work that the employee must do. The law states that the issue of a minimum wage will be determined through a ministerial decree. (Edwin Musoni, Parliament Passes Labor Bill, THE NEW TIMES (Kigali), May 5, 2009, available at

The law provides for 12 consecutive weeks of maternity leave, which may be taken as early as two weeks before giving birth. During maternity leave, a woman who does not have maternity insurance is eligible for her full salary for the leave period. In the six weeks following the original maternity leave, a woman has a choice between returning to work and earning full salary or staying on leave and earning 20 percent of her salary. She is also entitled to “two hour” [presumably, two hour-long] breaks every day to breast feed for six months after giving birth. (Id.)

The law also imposes stringent prohibitions against child labor. The penalty for violation of the relevant provisions is, on conviction, between three and five months of imprisonment and a fine of between RWF500,000 and 2 million (about US$884-$3,535). (Id.)