Workers’ Members of Parliament (MPs) led by Arinaitwe Rwakajara, Margaret Rwabushaija and the State Minister for Sports, Charles Bakabulindi have clarified that the newly passed Minimum Wage Bill, 2015 doesn’t it any way guarantee high salaries for employees.
Whille addressing the media at Parliament, the lawmakers appreciated fellow legislators for standing tall with the Ugandan employee to have their plight of low payments settled.
On Tuesday evening Parliament passed the Minimum Wage Bill which will see the Minister of Gender set up a minimum wage bill board that will be charged with the responsibility of setting the minimum wage for the different sectors of the economy.
Rwakajara who sponsored the bill told reporters at Parliament that the bill will go a long way in improving the welfare of workers and also create harmony between the employer and employees.
Rwakajara said that the biggest challenge that the movers of the bill have faced since 2015 is the fear among several employers and investors that once the bill is passed, it will reduce investment as well as increasing the unemployment levels in the country.
He said, on the other hand, the bill doesn’t look at raising salaries for workers but rather creates conducive working environment where workers will be able to earn a pay worth their labour.
“The Minimum wage doesn’t mean that it will increase the cost of expenditure or production of the investors; minimum wage does not mean high salaries, it doesn’t mean employing a few people and leave many,” Rwakajara said.
“This is simply a basic pay were the government, the employer and the employee agree to pay,” he added.
He also noted that it will be a prerogative of the Minister to announce new wages for each sector every year.
Rwakajara warned that the bill as well provides for a penalty of Shs10m or three years of imprisonment to any employer who fails to adhere to the set minimum wage.
The Minister, Charles Bakabulindi said that the penalties in the law are aimed at ensuring that employers implement the minimum wage once set.
“This is not a minimum wage that cuts across all the sectors, it is a sectoral approach, for example, domestic workers, shamba boys and baby sitters will have their minimum wage; government workers, agricultural sector will have their wage depending on the nature of the sector,” Bakabulindi said.