Government should lead by example by hiking civil servants’ wages if the minimum wage increment for domestic workers is to prove effective, says the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR).
And JCTR says the revised minimum wage will help to close the income gap between the rich and poor as well as to provide some relief on low-income households.
In a statement released, Wednesday, JCTR urged government to first lead by example by hiking civil servants’ wages first if the minimum wage increment will prove effective in its implementation.
The Ministry of Labour issued Statutory Instrument no.69 (Domestic Workers) Order, 2018 earlier this month, which saw domestic workers’ pay rise to a total of K993.60 from K522.40.
“The JCTR is, therefore, urging government to implement and lead public sensitisation and awareness on the revised minimum wage. Making the public aware about the revised minimum wage is key to successful implementation of the revised minimum wage law as some employers and employees do not understand what the law means and what it entitles. Further, the Centre recommends that in situations where employers could have a challenge to meet the revised minimum wage, they should mutually engage their employees to explore ways that would ensure their obligation is met and justice prevailed. Government should also lead by example in the pursuit of paying living wages to workers by revising upwards wages for civil servants who might be the major employers of domestic workers,” JCTR stated in a press release issued via its social & economic development programme officer, Chanda Paul Chileshe, Wednesday
JCTR noted that the increment in minimum wage had the potential to lead to some job losses as some employers would not meet the requirements, but equally urged employers to find other means of meeting the requirements.
“JCTR welcomes this development and commends government. Not too long ago, the Centre called on government to attach great importance to revising the minimum wages in view of the rising cost of living. The JCTR has, however, observed that the increment in the minimum wage may lead to loss of some jobs for some domestic workers as the new wages may be beyond the financial capacity of their employers whose salaries have not received a corresponding increment. In such a situation, the Centre urges that ways on how the minimum wage could be met should be explored between employers and employees to ensure that justice prevails, but more also to avoid job losses,” the Centre added.
And JCTR said the revised minimum wage will help to close the income gap between the rich and poor provide some relief on low-income households.
“The results of the JCTR’s Basic Needs Basket, for a family of five, have shown that the cost of living has consistently been on the increase in the past 12 months. For example, the Lusaka cost of living has risen from K4,928 in August, 2017, to K5,402 in August, 2018. This increase in the cost of living has caused a lot of financial distress, especially in the low-income households. In respect of this situation, the Centre urged government to prioritize the enactment of laws in the employment and labour sector that will protect workers from being exploited by their employers. The increment in the minimum wages will, therefore, provide some relief on low-income households. More also, the revised minimum wage will help to close the income gap between the rich and poor. The JCTR has observed that despite the wide gap between the cost of living and the revised minimum wage that still exists, the increase will help mitigate domestic workers and other category of workers affordability of basic essentials, such as basic food and services (electricity, water),” stated JCTR.