Malawi raise minimum wage by 74 percent

Government through Ministry of Labour has finally hiked per day statutory minimum wage for workers after a long fight with Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) and Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam).

Secretary for Labour, James Kalilangwe, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said the statutory minimum wage has been increased from K317 per day to K551.00 per day with effect from January 1, 2014.

The development means government has adopted MCTU and Ecam’s proposal, which represents a 74 percent increase.

Labour Ministry PS James Kalilangwe (left) and other senior government officials attended the meeting
Labour Ministry PS James Kalilangwe (left)

MCTU and Ecam had been, for some time, failing to come to terms with government on the need to have the minimum wage increased to K551.00 per day.

Initially government was reluctant to endorse the K551.00 per day proposal instead it was fixed on raising the minimum wage to K441, representing a 39 percent rise.

“The new minimum wage applies, without exception, to all sectors of our economy and all areas,” said Kalilangwe in the statement.

He said the minimum wage upwards revision was done in line with the country’s Employment Act’s provisions, and warned employers to adhere to the new per day rate.

“Employers are hereby reminded that, in terms of Section 55 of the Employment Act, Cap 55:01, it is an offence to pay an employee a wage that is below the prescribed statutory minimum wage. The ministry therefore wishes to appeal to all employers to comply accordingly,” he added.

The wage adjustment implies that currently the lowest earning workers will be taking home K16,530 a month from the current K9,510, which beats government’s intended K13,230.

MCTU president Chaukuka Muwake once noted that a family of five would need a minimum of K60 000 a month to live a basic life, adding the proposed K551.00 per day minimum wage was based on the needs of the lowest earners such as workers in tea plantations and tobacco farms.

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