Wednesday, July 15, 2015


MM workers

Just over two years after the Myanmar National Assembly adopted the Law on Minimum Wages (Law no. 7 dated March 22, 2013), the National Minimum Wage Designation Committee announced on June 29 that it had set the national minimum daily wage for for workers at K3,600 (about US$3.22). The committee comprised of government, employer and labor representatives laid out the eight-hour daily minimum wage that will be applied to businesses operating with more than 15 workers in the country.

From here, there will be two months of consultations among the relevant organizations and government officers before the matter goes before the National Assembly for a final decision.

Up until now, workers wages have been all over the place. The Myanmar Industries Association and the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association report around US$80/month to be the average overall salary across the garment and footwear industry. However, we consistently read local newspapers reporting strikes wherein footwear factory workers were being paid about US$25-30/month. Indeed, garment factory owners reportedly laid out a very strong case for K2,500 (US$44.60/month) during the recent negotiations.

One very common complaint among factory owners is that they cannot retain employees with such low wages which has led factory owners to establish complex bonus structures to aid in retention. With an established wage that is accepted by the government across industries, enforcement will be a more manageable feat.  Consequences for non-compliance is laid out very clearly in Law no. 7 to include being fined up to K300,000 (US$268) and up to six months in prison.


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