Finding new talent for your organisation can be a costly and lengthy process, this results in many organisations relying on the services of third parties such as employment agencies to fast-track the process and find the right talent. When using the services of private recruitment agencies, employers in Rwanda need to be aware of the legislative framework to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

The labour law of Rwanda , 2018 (“Labour Code”) provides ways employees can be hired. Chief amongst them is direct recruitment where the employer and the employee conclude an employment contract without an intermediary agency such as a private employment agency.

As is customary with all employment contracts, the employer is obligated to fulfil whatever obligations that may arise from the contract.

These obligations include paying the employee’s salary and handling a variety of compliance aspects such as contributing to the employee’s social security scheme and filing employment income tax. When using a recruitment agency, the employer may be able to bypass these obligations and relinquish them to the said agency.

As per Article 115 of the Labour Code, a private employment agency is defined as:

  • A natural or non-government legal persons providing labour market services such as looking for job seekers;
  • making job seekers available to an employer;
  • assigning them tasks and supervising them;
  • matching offers and applications, without becoming a party to the human resource management; and
  • providing job-related information.

The same provision also gives the minister of labour room to approve other services relating to job seeking.

Recruitment through an employment agency is conducted by the outsourcing company where the employer concludes an agreement with the employment agency which then provides the employer with a list of employees meeting the employer’s selection criteria. Under this arrangement, the employer is not obliged to pay the salary and social contributions and filing employment income tax because the obligations are performed by the outsourcing company.

Some of the advantages for employers when using an employment agency is that it allows them to avoid any disputes which may arise from the employment relationship as well as avoiding liability that could arise in terms of compliance with statutory requirements, given that these are to be met by the outsourcing company, acting as the employer of record.

In addition, recruitment through an employment agency would be an ideal arrangement in case the employer is based abroad and their operations require the physical presence of their employees. In that situation, the private employment agency in the country where the operations are conducted is of paramount importance since this arrangement can be more cost effective for the employer who is based abroad.

In opting for private employment agencies, employers are advised to take into consideration;

  • the avenues for termination of the employment contract;
  • the extent to which such termination could affect the employer; and
  • other considerations such as the preservation of confidentiality which normally survives after the contract termination;
  • limitation of liability to mitigate any risks for employees who could chose to initiate legal proceedings against the company they are assigned to instead of suing the employer of record in case of any contractual breach noncompliance with statutory provisions among others.