'Not the best time to decide on minimum wage'

President of Minimum Wage Board Mariyam Khalida has stated that now is not a suitable time to decide on a minimum wage.

Speaking at the public forum organized by the Parliament on Thursday seeking public opinion on the establishment of minimum wage, Khalida said the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus would likely impact the country's economy. While the establishment of a minimum wage was decided prior to the outbreak, it is wise to hold off on deciding a minimum wage to monitor the effects of the virus on global economy, said Khalida

'The economies of all countries across the globe will be affected, and especially Maldives. I request the government and the parliament to take into consideration the effects of the virus on the global economy before implementing minimum wage. I do not believe this is the best time to establish a minimum wage," she said.

Khalida added that the board equally considered the welfare of both the employees and the employers in recommending an amount for minimum wage. Studies conclude that MVR 8600 is not a feasible amount to be set as the minimum wage for employers, while this amount is also not adequate for employees when compared to living expenses, she said.

'We tried to go for a more balanced approach [keeping in mind both the employees and the employers]. Therefore, we recommended an average amount between MVR 4100 and MVR 8600. This comes as MVR 6400," added Khalida.

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ibrahim has announced that the government is aiming to establish a minimum wage by March 15. While the minimum wage board under the Economic Ministry has prepared a report on the issue, it is currently being reviewed by the Economic Committee of the parliament. The committee will reach a decision before March 11.