Economic Ministry seeks parliament counsel on minimum wage

The research report prepared by the Economic Ministry on the establishment of a minimum wage in the Maldives has been submitted at the parliament for deliberation.

Speaker Mohamed Nasheed during Tuesday's parliament sitting announced that the report had been sent to the parliament by Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail seeking the counsel of the parliament on the matter. A paper that included the report prepared by the International Labour Organization sent to the Economic Ministry, and a report on the ministry's meetings with stakeholders has also been sent to the parliament, Nasheed revealed.

The reports have now been forwarded to the parliament's Committee on Economic Affairs, said the Speaker.

Last week, the Economic Minister had announced that a minimum wage will be established and published before the end of the month. The amount will be established after consultation on the methodology and the amount with the Parliament, and as per the recommendations made by the advisory board established for the purpose, the minister had said.

While the establishment of a minimum wage is underway, a bill proposing amendments to the Employment Act which empowers the Economic Minister to establish a minimum wage was submitted at the Parliament on Monday.

According to the bill proposed by the government and sponsored by Kendhikulhudhoo MP Ahmed Easa, it is mandatory for the government to establish a minimum wage. However, the bill does not call to impose specific amounts as minimum wage.

The bill further states that the minimum wage will be decided by the Economic Minister based on the recommendation made by the advisory board established to provide counsel on the matter. The bill stipulates the formation of the advisory board within 30 days of the ratification of the bill.

The bill proposes to have seven key industries assessed separately, and for the advisory board to recommend a minimum wage for each sector. The industries are the fishing and agriculture industries in addition to tourism, construction, transportation, health, education industries and SMEs.

The establishment of a minimum wage is an electoral pledge of the president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. An advisory board was formed by Economic Ministry to research and advise the minister on establishing a minimum wage and their work is currently ongoing. The board's initial report was earlier discussed in the cabinet.