Bill for amending minimum wage law submitted in upper house

01 February 2020
Bill for amending minimum wage law submitted in upper house

A bill for amending the Minimum Wage Law containing over 60 amendments and deletions including reviewing and re-fixing minimum wage once every two years, was submitted to the House of Nationalities on January 30.

This bill was submitted to parliament by House of Nationalities, Immigration and Foreign and Domestic Workers Affairs Committee Chairman Kyaw Htwe.

“The main reason for amending this law is to provide an adequate wage for workers for their living in quality life and enhancing their job opportunities. The skill of the workers and production costs are depend on the relationship between employers and employees,” Kyaw Htwe told media.

The parliament affairs committee gave their view that a requirement for fixing new wage once every two years under the existing law could cause difficult situations for employers in their investment environment driven by workers’ desire for a higher wage.

The bill was reportedly drafted by responsible officials from government, representatives of employers and employees, members of National Committee for Fixing Minimum Wage in consultations with legal experts from Union Attorney General Office.

Member of National Committee for Fixing Minimum Wage, Win Zaw, representing workers told Mizzima that parliament affairs committee invited them two times to amend this minimum wage law but they could not get enough time for discussion with the committee and also they presented their stand to the committee concerning their objection to the need to review and re-fix the minimum wage once every two years.

In submission of this bill, parliament affair committee chairman said that the provision in existing minimum wage law stipulates that the fixing of the minimum wage shall be done through a tripartite agreement among employers, employees and the government but in fact economists and experts of workers affairs should also be included in this mechanism.

“Fixing of minimum wage should be done based on continuous review and analysis made by ‘national committee for fixing minimum wage’ based on the actual economic growth of the nation, situation of commodity prices and living costs, accordingly and occasionally from time to time. In academic sense of economics too, pre-determination of re-fixing minimum wage once in every two year period should not exist in any way. It may exert unnecessary pressure on employees, employers and government,” parliament affairs committee chairman Kyaw Htwe said.

The Minimum Wage Law was enacted and promulgated in 2013 and minimum wage of 3,600 kyats per diem with 8-hour working day was fixed under this law in August 2015 and it was increased to 4,600 kyats per diem with 8-hour working day in May 2018. Under the provisions of existing law re-fixing of new minimum wage will be due in May this year.

Workers staged demonstrations for better wages in Yangon last month.