Employment covers a wide range of involvements, nevertheless in this writing we are going to cover the employer-employee relationship (contract of service). Employment involves two sides which are the employer and the employee. This implies that there is contractual relationship between two parties where as one part offers skills, knowledge, energy, understanding etc to produce for the other part, and in return the other part pays for such production at agreed an sum.

The law in Tanzania has not left this relationship between the employer and employee unprotected. The labour law regime in Tanzania has extensively protected an employee from being abused by employer and employer from being misused by the employee. The regime is governed by two important laws. These are The Employment and Labour Relations Act No. 6 of 2004 and Labour Institutions Act No. 7 of 2004.

The Employment and Labour Relation Act provides for core labour rights, establishes the basic employments standards, provides a framework for collective bargaining, providing for mechanism of dispute settlement and other matters related to employment and labour issues in Tanzania. The labour Institutions Act provides for establishments of labour institutions, duties, functions and powers thereof, and other matters related to them.

The law has strictly prohibited an employer from discrimination, directly or indirectly against the employee on the grounds of colour, nationality, tribe or place of origin, race, national extraction, social origin, political opinion or religion, sex, gender, pregnancy, marital status or family responsibility, disability, HIV/AIDS, age and station of life (Section 7(4) of The Employment and Labour Relations Act No. 6 of 2004).


Under The Employment and Labour Relations Act No. 6 of 2004, there are three types of employment namely:

  • Contract of unspecified period of time
  • Contract of specified period of time for professionals and managerial cadre
  • Contract of specific task

It is not mandatory to have a written contract of employment. However the law puts a mandatory requirement for a written contract if the contract provides that employee is to work outside Tanzania. Where there is no written contract provided, the employer must supply an employee with a written statement of particulars of employment.

An employer and employee are bounded by the law to honour the terms of the contract and other provisions of the law as provided by the Employment and Labour Relations Act No. 6 of 2004. The provisions of the law which governs hours of work, remuneration, leave, etc must be observed by both employer and employee, except those excluded by the by the Employment and Labour Relations Act No. 6 of 2004.


The law defines termination of employment to include:

  • Lawful termination of employment under common law,
  • Termination by an employee because the employer made the continuous employment intolerable for employee.
  • Failure to renew a fixed term contract on the same or similar terms if there was a reasonable expectation of renewal.
  • Failure to allow an employee to resume work after taking maternity leave.
  • Failure to re-employ am employee if the employer has terminated the employment of a number of employee for the same or similar reasons and has offered to re-employ one or more of them.

Employment can be terminated by either employer or employees due to various reasons. Reasons recognized by law are:

  • Misconduct
  • Incapacity
  • Incompatibility
  • Operational requirements


The law requires that, employment should be terminated on notice. If termination notice is made in the first month of employment, then notice must be given in not less than seven days. If the employee is employed on a daily basis or weekly basis, then notice must be given in not less than four days. If the employment is on monthly basis, notice must be given in not less than 28 days.

The notice of termination must be in writing stating the reasons for termination and the date on which the notice is given. It should be noted that notice of termination cannot be given during any period of leave as taken under the law.

Payment in lieu of notice

Instead of giving an employee notice of termination, an employer may pay an employee the remuneration that the employee would have received if the employee had worked during the notice period.


After termination of employment, an employee is entitled the following from the employer:

  • Severance pay,
  • Transport to the place of recruitment,
  • Remuneration for work done before termination,
  • Any annual leave pay due to an employee,
  • Any annual leave pay accrued during any incomplete leave cycle,


Termination of employment is unfair when the employer fails to prove that the reasons for termination are valid and fair and that the employment was terminated in accordance with the fair procedure. Fair reasons must be based on employee’s conduct, capacity, or compatibility, or based on operational requirements. The law provides that, it shall not be fair reasons to terminate an employee on the grounds that:

  • The employee has disclosed information that the employee is entitled or required to disclose to another person under by Employment and Labour Relations Act No. 6 of 2004 or any other law.
  • The employee refuses to do anything unlawful that the employer may require the employee to do.
  • The employee exercises any right conferred by the contract of employment.
  • The employee belongs to any trade union.
  • The employee participates in the lawful activities of a trade union, including lawful strike
  • The employee is pregnant
  • The employee is disabled
  • And any other reasons that constitute discrimination under by Employment and Labour Relation Act No. 6 of 2004