Increasing minimum wage vital

Editorial

THIS is a good opportunity to raise the issue of increasing the current minimum wages with Prime Minister James Marape announcing he may have to take a 20 per cent pay cut as part of the clean-up of overpaid leaders.
It should be increased to K5 per hour from the current K3.50 as the latter is not enough to sustain the majority of the workforce.
The country is economically facing harsh times and to top it up there are huge discrepancies of overpaid and under paid in the various pay systems.
One can see it every day in the price of especially goods and services.
Ten years ago, a packet of chicken (Kwik Kai) was around K9 depending on where you shopped, today it’s a whopping K14.
The cost of airfares are rising and even fuel. Some may say, over the last two months, fuel prices have dropped but what is the value of 10t today?
And it is the middle to low income earners who are the hardest hit because it is already becoming a struggle.
We live in a society where those who work not only look after their immediate family but also the extended.
There were talks or suggestions of an increase by the labour minister in the former government, however, it turns out, nothing materialised from it.
The suggestion was received as the best news as K3.50 is definitely too low.
At one time, the minimum wage was K2.29 then it increased to K3.20 and gradually to K3.36.
The current rate of K3.50 was approved on July 1, 2016.
And some employers are still paying below the current minimum wage and leaning on reasons why they were not able to meet the K3.50 per hour threshold.
That, however, is unfair on workers who put in the hours and one can say, they’re cheated with countless excuses.
While we understand why some employers are not generating enough revenue, it is time the authorities step in also and investigate if claims are true.
Despite having laws that state employers in PNG who fail to pay the minimum wage may be subject to punishment, this rarely happens.
Raising the minimum wage will also stimulate consumer spending, help businesses’ bottom lines, and grow the economy.
Raising the minimum wage on a regular basis helps families keep up with price inflation, lower unemployment and higher wages increase tax revenues.
Raising the minimum wage is going to have an effect on everyone, not just the people that will be earning those wages.
Small business owners may run into the financial issue of not being able to pay their employees, and in extreme results may even lose their businesses.
The minimum wage was not created for people to work at these wages forever.
They are set as entry levels and over time, people are supposed to receive pay raises to get out of the entry level jobs and move up through the businesses.
While people who are working minimum wage jobs find it easy to say yes to raising the federal minimum wage to K5, in all reality, this could be a detrimental move for our nation’s economy.
Raising the federal minimum wage will also stimulate consumer spending, help businesses’ bottom lines, and grow the economy.
We like to believe that, a modest increase would improve worker productivity, and reduce employee turnover and absenteeism.
It would also boost the overall economy by generating increased consumer demand.

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