Myanmar introduces controversial new minimum wage Myanmar introduces controversial new minimum wage

Myanmar introduces controversial new minimum wage
19 Jun 2018

Despite objections from both employers and workers, Myanmar has set a new minimum wage of K4,800 (US$3.60) for an eight-hour day for organisations employing more than 10 people.

The former minimum wage of K3,600 (US$2.65) was initially set in September 2015. The National Committee for the Minimum Wage first proposed the new minimum in January, but both employees and business owners rejected the suggestion at subsequent consultations, according to Myanmar Times.

Employers warned that a K4,800 basic wage would force small- and medium-sized companies, which comprise the majority in the country, to close. Workers, on the other hand, attested it was not enough to sustain families amid steadily rising prices for basic commodities and called for at least K5,600 (US$4.13) per day.

Minister U Thein Swe said the government would try to resolve such concerns.

Despite the increase, Myanmar's minimum wage is still the lowest in Southeast Asia, falling behind even Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, according to Asean Briefing.

While the country has not yet ratified the International Labour Organisation’s Minimum Wage Convention 131, its Minimum Wage Law is believed to meet most of the requirements. Minimum wages are set through tripartite discussions between employers’ associations, workers’ organisations and government representatives.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

Despite objections from both employers and workers, Myanmar has set a new minimum wage of K4,800 (US$3.60) for an eight-hour day for organisations employing more than 10 people.

The former minimum wage of K3,600 (US$2.65) was initially set in September 2015. The National Committee for the Minimum Wage first proposed the new minimum in January, but both employees and business owners rejected the suggestion at subsequent consultations, according to Myanmar Times.

Employers warned that a K4,800 basic wage would force small- and medium-sized companies, which comprise the majority in the country, to close. Workers, on the other hand, attested it was not enough to sustain families amid steadily rising prices for basic commodities and called for at least K5,600 (US$4.13) per day.

Minister U Thein Swe said the government would try to resolve such concerns.

Despite the increase, Myanmar's minimum wage is still the lowest in Southeast Asia, falling behind even Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, according to Asean Briefing.

While the country has not yet ratified the International Labour Organisation’s Minimum Wage Convention 131, its Minimum Wage Law is believed to meet most of the requirements. Minimum wages are set through tripartite discussions between employers’ associations, workers’ organisations and government representatives.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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