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Namibia Establishes National Minimum Wage to Combat Inequality and Poverty

CC BY-SA 4.0 / Zairon / Windhuk Parliament Gardens & Tintenpalast
Windhuk Parliament Gardens & Tintenpalast - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 03.06.2024
In February 2021, Namibian Minister Utoni Nujoma appointed a Wages Commission to investigate the country's industries and recommend an NMW. This wage will be applicable to every employee, except those exempt by the minister in the Wage Order. The initiative also included supplementary minimum employment conditions.
Namibia's Cabinet has approved a decision by the Minister of Labor, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation (MLIREC) to implement a national minimum wage (NMW) starting in January 2025, according to local media reports.
The NMW will be set at 18 Namibian dollars (approximately $0.96) per hour and will be reviewed after two years, according to MLIREC Executive Director Lydia Indombo, one of the reports says.
Lydia Indombo reportedly emphasized that the introduction of the NMW is not intended to replace existing bargaining power but aims to establish a wage floor, particularly for the lowest-paid employees. Employers are prohibited from lowering current wages to meet the NMW, as it is designed to be a minimum threshold, not a maximum limit.
"The implementation aims to improve wages for the lowest-paid workers, reduce income inequality, alleviate poverty, and improve individual and household income, achieving a decent standard of living for all," Indombo was quoted as saying.
According to Indombo, full details on the suggested NMW will be published in the Government Gazette of Namibia in July.
A worker holding a printed message takes part in a march to protest against the government's failure to agree on a new minimum wage during a rally in Lagos, on October 30, 2018. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 02.06.2024
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Current minimum wages exist for sectors such as security, agriculture, construction, and domestic work, leaving other sectors unregulated and vulnerable to low wages. For domestic workers, the NMW will be phased in over three years: starting at 12.02 Namibia dollars ($0.64) per hour in the first year, increasing to 15.01 ($0.80) in the second year, and reaching 18 ($0.96) in the third year, compared to the current 9.03 local currency per hour.
In the agricultural sector, the NMW will also be phased in, starting from 6 Namibia dollars ($0.32) per hour (plus in-kind payments) to 10 ($0.54) in the first year, 14 ($0.75) in the second year, and eventually 18 ($0.96) in the third year, exclusive of any in-kind payments.

Currently, in the sectors listed above, wages start at 4.62 Namibia dollars ($0.25) per hour and go up to 10 ($0.54) per hour for seniority, and can vary depending on the category of employee.