Minimum Wage in Malawi - Frequently Asked Question

Is there a separate legislation relating to minimum wages in Malawi?

There is no separate legislation on minimum wages in Malawi. It is one of the provision under Employment Act, 2002 regulated by articles 54 & 55.

Do one or more minimum wages exist that is/are determined by law?

In Malawi, there exist two legal minimum wage rates (Reference: WageIndicator website).

At what level are minimum wages determined at?

Since legal minimum wages in Malawi do not vary by region, they are declared at the national level. (Reference: Wage Indicator website). Legal minimum wages in Malawi are declared for two sectors - a) urban sector b) Rural sector (reference: WageIndicator website).

On what basis is minimum wage calculated?

Legal minimum wages in Malawi are declared on daily basis (Reference: Wage Indicator website).

In case of weekly/monthly minimum age, are they based on any fixed number of hours?

Normal working hours for an employee is 48 hours a week comprising of six consecutive work days (Article 36 of Employment act).

Are governmental bodies, employer and/or trade union representatives involved in minimum wages setting?

Ministry of Labour, Ecama (Employers Association of Malawi) and Malawi Congress of Trade Unions. According to article 54 (1) of the Employment Act, 2002 the Ministry of Labour shall fix minimum wages for any group of wage earners, in consultation with organization of workers and employers relevant to the group of wage earners.

How are upratings (adjustments) of minimum wages decided upon?

Minimum wages upratings or adjustments are decided jointly by government, employer and trade union representatives. According to article 54 (1), (4) & (5) fixation, revision or even modification of any procedure for setting minimum wages, shall be done by Ministry in consultation with the representatives of workers and employers.

Which are the components of minimum wage in Malawi?

It is only fixed component according to the Employment Act 2000.

How frequently is the fixed component of minimum wage updated?

According to article 54 (4) of Employment Act, 2002 the ministry shall, in consultation with representatives of workers and employers, reconsider the level of minimum wages atleast once in every three years.

What is/are the yardstick/s on which minimum wage upratings are based?

The Employment Act no 54 (3) says in prescribing minimum wages, the Minister, as far as possible, consider - a) the needs of workers and their families, the general level of wages, the cost of living, social security benefits and the relative living standards of other social groups and b) economic factors, including the requirements of economic development, levels of productivity and any effect the wage might have on employment.

What is National Poverty line?

Click here to know the national poverty line in context with Minimum Wage, living wages and actual wages. Select the currency (Euro or national currency) to know national poverty line.

How is minimum wages compliance regulated?

According to article 8 (5) of the Employment Act, 2002 the Act shall be enforced by Labour Officer acting subject to the directions of Labour Commissioner, who is responsible for effective administration and application of the Act. Law does not provide clear explanation on this provision.

Which legal sanctions can be applied in compliance is lacking?

According to article 55 (2) of Employment Act, 2002 any employer who pays wages less than statutory minimum wage shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of K50,000 and to imprisonment for ten years.

Are sanctions often being applied?

Not Applicable as per law.

Are employer and/or trade union representatives involved in compliance procedures?

Law does not provide any explanation in this regard.

To whom/Where can individuals complain, if they think they are earning less than minimum wage?

According to article 64 (2) of the Employment Act, 2002 any person alleging the violation of a provision of this Act may file a complaint with the District Labour Officer. As per article 64 (4) trade unions can also represent a person having dispute or alleging violation of a provision of this Act. As per article 64 (3) of the Employment Act, 2002 person can also present complaint to the Court.