Holidays and Work
What is a public holiday?
This is a holiday which is established by the Government of Uganda or through international arrangements and is therefore considered to be a non-working day. It is usually meant for celebrations, such as the anniversary of a significant historical event like Uganda’s Independence Day, international recognition of certain groups like Women’s Day or religious celebrations like Easter or Eid al-Fitr.
Must an employee work on public holidays if required by the employer?
An employee must not work on a public holiday against his or her will. If the employer wants an employee to work on a public holiday, the employer should discuss the matter with the employee including issues of compensation for the public holiday.
Should an employee work for free on a public holiday?
No. Even when an employee has consented to work on a public holiday, he or she is still entitled to his or her pay for the work done. In the case of public holidays, an employee is entitled to be paid twice the normal rate. In other words, the pay for public holidays should be 200%.
Official public holidays in Uganda include the following:
- New Year’s Day-01 January
- NRM Liberation Day-26 January
- International Women’s Day-08 March
- Good Friday (Exact day varies)
- Easter Monday (Exact day varies)
- Labour Day Uganda-01 May
- Martyrs’ Day-03 June
- National Heroes’ Day-09 June
- Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan-Exact day varies)
- Independence Day Uganda 2012 is on Tuesday, 09 October, 2012
- Eid al-Aduha (Feast of the Sacrifice- Exact day varies)
- Christmas Day-25 December
- Boxing Day-26 October
What more should an employee know about public holidays?
- Public holidays are not part of annual leave so it should not be deducted from an employee’s annual leave.
- All work done on public holidays is extra work and not part of routine work.
- Employers cannot force employees to work on public holidays against their will.
- Work done by employees should be paid for by the employer at twice the normal rate.
- Public holidays cannot be substituted with weekends or any other days of rest for the employees.