The National Committee for Minimum Wage (NCMW) on Monday formally proposed a national minimum wage of 3,600 kyat (US$3.60) per day or 450 kyat ($0.45) per hour.
The recommendation came after more than two years of discussions between the government, labour representatives and employers, negotiations which were finally concluded at a workshop in Rangoon last week.
If accepted by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, the salary conditions will be applicable to all employers, except small enterprises with 15 workers or less, and family businesses.
Labour representatives previously called for a minimum wage of 4,000 kyat per day across the board, while employers insisted that 2,500 kyat per day was manageable.
The NCMW announced that any individuals or organisations who wish to comment, object or amend the proposed wage should contact the Department of Labour within two weeks. If there is no objection, it said, the new minimum wage will become effective after 60 days.
Speaking to DVB last week, Vicky Bowman, the director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), said that workers need to be protected, and that any minimum wage must be transparent and enforceable.
“The minimum wage needs to be set at a level which protects workers from exploitation and businesses from unfair competition but doesn’t result in wider negative social impacts in the country such as significant inflation or businesses laying off workers,” she said.
During a radio address to the nation last month, President Thein Sein warned that if the minimum wage were too high, it would increase production costs and consequently block foreign investment, while if it were set too low then workers who are struggling to survive would inevitably take to the streets to protest.