By HELEN TARAWA
THE minimum wage of K3.50 is due for review this year and the Department of Labour and Employment will be looking into it, acting secretary Ravu Vagi says.
Vagi told The National that the last review was in 2014 which was raised from K2.29 to K3.20 and in 2016 and then increased to K3.50.
He said it needed to be reviewed as it was required to be done every three years as per the minimum wage determination.
“The minimum wage is K3.50 and all companies are required to follow this unless they are exempted,” Vagi said.
“You cannot go below that level, but there are some exemptions in the agriculture sector.”
Labour and Industrial Relations Minister Alfred Manase said minimum wage was to help fix the cost of labour and what was able to be compensated so the employees started at that minimum.
“All companies now should be paying their employees K3.50, if they are paying below this, then they (workers) have to file a complaint to the Labour Department.
“We will get our inspectors to check and charge them and fine them and deal with companies that are not paying the minimum wage.
“Exemptions basically apply to agriculture because of the high cost of production but there are certain rates.
“We want to ensure that everybody has a decent income and they are able to sustain themselves.”
Manase said there were some jobs that were restricted to Papua New Guineans. However, if there is a breach in this area, it must be reported to the department, he said.
“We understand that we don’t have certain skill sets so we allow companies to bring in experts to work and at the same time train locals to be able to do those jobs.
“That is the whole reason why we have work permits. We don’t permit certain jobs and we cannot bring expatriates to do this.”
By HELEN TARAWA