Employer and employee relationship

I am a resident of Morogoro and work for a small business firm as a logistics officer. While I have worked for this firm for 3 years, we never signed a contract. Everything was agreed orally including my working hours, salaries and other benefits.  My young brother who is currently studying law at a University in Morogoro, recently told me that no person can be regarded as an employee unless there is a written contract with the employer. Is this true? I am afraid to be in a situation where my rights are lost because of my current work situation. Please guide me.
ZF, Morogoro.

We understand your concern. The form of the contract does not matter in determining whether a person is an employee. The issue for determination is whether an employer-employee relationship existed. Before answering your question, it is necessary to explain in brief a contract of employment. Simply put, a contract of employment is an agreement that is entered into by a company or an individual with an individual for availing his/her services. The person in this situation is an employee of the business or individual and will be regarded as an employee during the course of their employment.

There are several Court cases that have explained the employer and employee relationship. Usually, Courts rely on several established tests to determine the existence of this relationship. Nonetheless, to protect employees, section 61 of the Labour Institutions Act [Cap. 300 R.E 2019] states that for the purposes of a labour law, a person who works for, or renders services to, any other person is presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be an employee, regardless of the form of the contract, if any one or more of the following factors is present: (a) the manner in which the person works is subject to the control or direction of another person;(b) the person’s hours of work are subject to the control or direction of another person; (c) in the case of a person who works for an organisation, the person is a part of that organization; (d) the person has worked for that other person for an average of at least 45 hours per month over the last 3 months; (e) the person is economically dependent on the other person for whom that person works or renders services; (f) the person is provided with tools of trade or work equipment by the other person; or (g) the person only works for or renders services to one person. All in all, it seems highly likely that you are indeed employed. Your lawyer can guide you further.