The government has proposed an amendment to the Employment Act to postpone paying minimum wage to foreign workers indefinitely.
The Employment Act was amended in 2020 to require the payment of the minimum wage, with the relevant minister reviewing the minimum wage every two years. The minimum wage reform came into force in January last year.
When the government amended the law to establish the minimum wage, it was planned that the minimum wage would be paid to foreigners within two years of the law coming into force. Therefore, the minimum wage should be paid to foreigners from the 22nd of this month.
However, the government has proposed an amendment to the Parliament, stating that the minimum wage should be paid to foreigners on a date fixed by the government based on the advice of the Advisory Board, which would take into account the country's economic situation, prosperity, and productivity.
The bill's first reading was heard at Wednesday's Parliament sitting.
Some civil society organizations have already expressed concern over the delay in paying the minimum wage to foreigners. Some believe that the move to delay the payment of minimum wage to foreigners could further exacerbate the already unresolved expatriate problem in the Maldives.
The minimum wage is MVR 4,500 per month for small businesses, MVR 7,000 for medium businesses, and MVR 8,000 for large businesses.