Myanmar to raise minimum wage to K4,800 per day

Road workers in Chin State. Photo: Jacob Goldberg
Road workers in Chin State. Photo: Jacob Goldberg

Myanmar’s National Committee on Minimum Wage decided on Dec. 29 to set the nationwide minimum wage at K4,800 (US$3.52) per day, or K600 ($.044) per hour. The decision was approved yesterday by Union Minister for Labour, Immigration, and Population Thein Swe.

The minimum wage had previously been set at K3,600 ($2.64) since August 2015.

Myanmar’s national minimum wage applies to all businesses with 10 or more employees.

The committee’s decision followed consultations with employers, employees, and government officials. However, labor organizations insist that K4,800 per day is not enough to sustain a family as costs of living continue to rise, especially in cities.

The Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar lobbied for a minimum wage of between K5,000 and K6,000 per day during the consultations. Some employers resisted a rise in the minimum wage altogether.

State and region-level committees dealing with the minimum wage will accept suggestions and objections to the national-level committee’s decision, but the rate is likely to come into effect within the next 60 days.

Myanmar’s government has been under pressure to keep wages lower than its Southeast Asian neighbors in order to attract foreign investment to the manufacturing sector.

Myanmar’s average annual income per capita is $1,140. Around 37 percent of the country’s 51 million people live near or below the poverty line.

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