Minimum Wage in Malawi
As in many other countries, Minimum Wage has played a crucial role in Malawi in determining salary and wages in workplaces. The Minimum Wage has been set for a number of reasons, but primarily to improve the living conditions of workers.
Malawi’s Employment Act of 2000, part VII section 54 says Minimum Wage is the level at which the minimum salary or wages should be paid. Thus anyone paying below this set wage is contravening the law and is subject to prosecution under the laws of Malawi.
The Employment Act 2000 says in Section 55-(1) on abatement of Minimum Wages set under section 54 that they shall not be subject to abatement provided that collective agreements may provide for wages which exceed the Minimum Wages.
The Employment Act 2000 says in Section 55-(2) that any employer who pays wages in contravention of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of 50,000 Malawi Kwacha and to imprisonment for 10 years.
The Employment Act 2000 says on the setting of Minimum Wages in section 54 -- (1) that if the Minister of Labour is of the opinion that it is expedient to fix the Minimum Wages of any group of wage earners, shall consult with organisations of workers and employers relevant to that group of wage earners (among them the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) and the Employers Consultative Association of Malawi) as to the appropriate level of Minimum Wage to be prescribed.
According to MCTU, the Minimum Wage review is based on rural, urban and national inflation.
The Employment Act further says that the Minister of Labour may, after the consultations referred to in subsection (1), publish in the Gazette a wages order prescribing the Minimum Wages to be paid to the group of wage earners to which such wages order applies.
According to Section 54 (3) of the Employment Act 2000, in prescribing Minimum Wages, the Minister shall, as far as possible, consider: The needs of workers and their families, the general level of wages, the cost of living, social security benefits and the relative living standards of other social groups.
Economic factors, including the requirements of economic development, levels of productivity and any effect the wage might have on employment.
Minimum Wages levels
In Section 54 (4) the Employment Act says the minister shall, in consultation with representative organisations of workers and employers, as mentioned above, reconsider the levels of Minimum Wages at least once every three years and that the minister shall consult with representative organisations of workers and employers at any time he is of the opinion that the procedure for setting wages set out in this section should in any way be modified.