EMPLOYERS will have to take responsibility for making sure their workers are aware of the new National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate, according to the Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Jone Usamate.
Under the new NMW Regulations, all employers are required to display a NMW notice in the workplace, in order to inform and educate employees of their rights.
Mr Usamate said any refusal to follow NMW regulations would result in an on-the-spot fine of $100, with further penalties if the regulations are breached: if employers are convicted, they face a fine of $20,000, two years imprisonment, or both.
The minimum wage of $2 per hour came into force on March 1, and all relevant employers are required under the regulations to adjust their workers' wage levels in line with the rate.
"The NMW rate of $2 will cover all employers in the informal sector, including employers in the formal sector not covered under the 10 current Wages Regulations Orders (WRO)," Mr Usamate said.
"It will benefit a total of at least 72,000 workers."
He emphasised the NMW Regulations are in addition to workers' rights under the Employer Relations Promulgation.
The NMW change is one policy being used by the government to adhere to its commitment to reduce poverty to a negligible level by 2015.
According to Mr Usamate, fundamental social justice principles and workers' rights are the ministry's focus as it implements labour reforms to realise decent wages, conditions and environment in the workplace.