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The Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management Act No. 3 of 2022 (the “HR Act”) was enacted by the Zambian Parliament on 12 April 2022.
Its main objectives include, inter alia: continuing the existence of the Zambia Institute of Human Resources Management and rename it as the Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management (the “Institute”); repealing and replacing the Zambia Institute of Human Resources Management Act,1997; and to provide for the registration of human resource management practitioners (“Practitioners”) and regulate their practice and professional conduct. This legal alert will focus on one of the major changes brought about by the Act in respect of registration of Practitioners and prohibition of employing Practitioners not registered by the Institute under the Act.
Prohibition of Practicing without Registration and a Valid Practising Certificate Unlike under the repealed Act which made it optional for Practitioners to register with the Institute and become members, the HR Act now requires Practitioners to be registered with the Institute in accordance with the Act and be holders of a practicing certificate issued by the Institute in order to practice as a human resource management professional. The Act further prohibits persons from employing or offering employment to persons that are not registered Practitioners. To this extent, the Act provides a fine of ZWK150 000 and/or imprisonment for 5 years, or both for persons practising as Practitioners without being registered under the Act and persons that employee Practitioners who are not registered and holders of a practising certificate.
Registration Requirements for Practitioners
To be registered under the Act, one must be a resident or citizen of Zambia and have an established office or appointment in Zambia in the human resource management profession. Further, the Practitioner’s qualification must be recognised and validated by the Zambia Qualifications Authority.
Following the enactment of the HR Act, it is mandatory for Practitioners to register and be holders of a valid certificate of registration in order to practice as a human resource management professional. It is now also mandatory for employers to only employ Practitioners registered under the Act. The failure to adhere to these requirements is an offence attracting not only the imposition of a fine but also a criminal sanction (i.e. imprisonment).