Ministry of Labour Youth, Sports and Manpower Development has changed tune on the statutory minimum wage for all workers, saying it is K980 per day and not K1 250 per day as earlier announced.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe announced in Parliament that the minimum wage had been increased from K680 per day to K1 250 per day translating to K25 000 a month calculated on 26 working days.
But Francis Kasaila, Minister of Labour Youth, Sports and Manpower Development told parliament that indeed K 1 250 was the minimum wage agreed upon by the Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) representing employers, Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) representing workers and the government.
“When the budget was adopted, minimum wage moved from K19 000 to K25 000 and the minister announced an increase in the tax free bracket to K30 000 to ensure those who earn minimum wage be below the threshold. But the K1 250 per day would then translate to K32 500 which would be above the announced threshold. This (K1 250) was a target,” Kasaila said
Member of Parliament (MP) for Dowa East Richard Chimwendo Banda (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) queried the disparity in the minimum wage announced by two ministries.
He also asked when will government implement the sectoral minimum wage just like South Africa and Zimbabwe.
But Kasaila explained that the minimum wage is calculated by diving the minimum wage by the maximum number of working days – in this case 26.
“If we multiplu accordingly, the daily minimum wage translates into K962 per day,” said Kasaila.
He also said government is working on fixing the minimum wage by sector.
“The consultations that have been held so far have resulted in agreement of total numbers of sectors,” said Kasaila.
The Minister saidwhat is remaining is “coming to enabling subsidiary legislation.”
The minimum wage serves the purpose of protecting the lowest paid workers from exploitation for the services they render. It sets the bottom line rate of wages below which it is unlawful for an employer to pay employees.
Parliament on June 22 passed the 2017/18 national budget worth MK1.3 trillion, with a proposed minimum wage increase from K19,000 to K25,000 per month.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :