August 19, 2016

Minimum wage, a curse or cure?

It is encouraging to hear that the central government has given the green light to the National Minimum Wage Committee to set the daily wage at K3,600 (US$2.80) for a standard eight-hour work. The committee announced the country’s first-ever national minimum wage on 28 August, saying that all workers of entire industries across the country are entitled to earn the daily wage as from 1 September. The law however does not cover small businesses employing less than 15 people.
It was not easy for the parties involved in making the decision on the wage, given several rounds of negotiations and talks between the government, the committee, labour groups, employers and workers. A law that proposed the introduction of the daily minimum wage received parliamentary approval in 2011.
A wave of labour disputes and protests has since then swept big cities, demanding for better pay and pleasant working conditions. Nevertheless, the initiative is seen as a welcoming sign amid the country’s sluggish political and economic reforms. One good thing about the official minimum wage is that workers can be prevented from being exploited by employers. In addition, they are expected to secure a somewhat socially acceptable standard of living.
All things considered, the establishment of the minimum wage is no doubt an effective tool to fair distributions of wages.


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