The Parliament has passed an amendment to the Employment Act to postpone the payment of the minimum wage to foreigners 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 on September 7, 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 amendment was passed by the Parliament on Wednesday, with 49 members voting in its favor. Only one member voted against the amendment. The amendment could postpone the payment of the minimum wage to foreigners until the government wishes to do so.
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.