Minimum wage rate: Employers complying, says Prof

Professor School of Business, Western Sydney University, Dr Partha Gangopadhyay speaks to participants during the Ministry of Employment seminar at Tanoa Plaza in Suva on Saturday, May 26, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

COMPLYING with changes to the new minimum wage rate for unskilled workers has not been a problem in Fiji, says Employment Ministry’s independent consultant on the country’s national minimum wage rate, Professor Partha Gangopadhyay. Prof Gangopadhyay said in an interview there had been no issues so far with compliance from $2.32 to $2.68 introduced last year.

The professor of economics at the University of Western Sydney, who has led the consultation over minimum wage rate in the country, believes most employers have complied well.

“My understanding with compliance is that it has been very good and has not been a major issue so far,” he said.

“What I have seen though is a liberating issue and the liberation is how they increase minimum wage every year to bring workers and employers to the party like a second marriage and the outcome has to be good. “If one party is at fault, the other is suffering, so how do we go about that mechanism.”

However, Prof Gangopadhyay said compliance may become an issue if the minimum wage rate for unskilled workers increased to a higher rate such as $3.50 to $4.

“In due course when wages go higher, than this compliance issue will come up and employers might start doing different things, but we are keeping an eye on it,” he said.

“If inflation rate is high then the wage rate will increase, but if inflation rate is unchanged then the minimum wage rate will not change. “Also if the production of workers increase, then the wage rate will also increase so we are looking at productivity.”

 

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