Posted in Legislative Research on Mar 05, 2020
This amendment bill was submitted by the Amyotha Hluttaw Committee on Immigration and Myanmar Internal and Migrant Workers and posted on the Amyotha Hluttaw website on 30th January 2020.
Current Status (05.03.2020) – awaiting debate at the Amyotha Hluttaw
The Minimum Wage Law was passed in 2013. Since then, there have been two increases to the minimum wage, in line with the law. In 2015, it was set at MMK 3600 per day and in 2018 increased to MMK 4800. Currently, President’s Office Notification No. 28/2020 has the effect of forming a National Minimum Wage Committee to change the rate of the minimum wage again.
After the second increase in 2018, the Amyotha Hluttaw Committee decided to submit an amendment bill. The reasons they gave were a lack of appropriate persons on the National Committee, ‘workplace instability’ caused by the law’s requirement to review the minimum wage a minimum of once every two years, the 3-year tenure of the National Committee, and other provisions which they felt should be removed.
(2) Bill Summary
The bill includes provisions which are intended to align minimum wage law with other new laws, removes those which are viewed as only necessary in the by-law, or are overlapping with other laws, and various changes to the legal language used.
- The original minimum wage law only covered the commercial, production, service, agriculture and livestock breeding sectors. However, the amendment would have the effect of applying the minimum wage in all sectors. The term “Minimum Wage” is clearly defined, and the definition of “Ministry” is changed to ‘a ministry given duty by the Union Government’.
- As for the formation of the National Committee, the bill specifies some of its members. They will be Region/State Ministers related to Planning and Finance, Labour and Commerce from the government side, plus outside experts and labour market experts. Its tenure is changed from being the same as the Union Government, instead of limited to 3 years. To be more precise about the accountability, a further provision would make the committee accountable to the Union Government.
- In setting the minimum wage, the committee will be required to make a recommendation to the Government annually, and the original provision that the wage is changed at a minimum of once in two years is proposed for amendment. Instead, the amendment bill proposes that the minimum wage should be changed whenever required, based on the country’s economic and financial conditions. The committee will report on whether this necessity has arisen to the Government.
- When considering changing the minimum wage, some considerations included in the original law will be removed. These include the essential needs of workers and their families, social security benefits, GDP and per capita income, life risk and the nature of workplace. One consideration, living cost and changes of such living costs, will be replaced with the inflation rate and the consumer price index.
- Instead of the National Committee, the Union Government will take responsibility to declare the proposed notification of minimum wage, presumably on the Committee’s advice.
- Those who are dissatisfied with the rate of the minimum wage have a right to apply for a writ to the Union Supreme Court in order to amend the rate. However, the current bill will terminate that right.
- One of the employer’s duties which is to announce the minimum wage related to the work at the workplace is amended to “with language accessible by the employees”.
- The provision that fees defaulted by the employer has to be paid from the fine is removed. However, the provision that the assigned department will sue under civil proceeding for all wages which is entitled to obtain by the worker remains as in the original.
- The Ministry will take from the National committee the powers to issue notifications, orders, directives and procedures, and the Ministry will need to send an annual report about the National Committee’s functions to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
Other relevant laws
The Payment of Wages Law, 2016
The Labour Organization Law (2011)
The Leave and Holidays Act, 1951
The Occupational Safety and Health Law
The Social Security Law, 2012
Moe Aung, The Ananda, email@example.com