In March 2013, the new Minimum Wage Law was enacted by Myanmar’s Parliament, and after years-long tripartite negotiations, the minimum basic wage rate was set at 3,600 kyats per 8-hour working day (450 kyat/hour), corresponding to approx. US$ 83 per month. The minimum wage was implemented from 1 September 2015. What next? This was a question put by CESD to the Greater Mekong Subregion Research Network (GMS-Net) at a workshop organised by the Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI) in November 2015.
To ensure that the minimum wage has a positive impact on social and economic development, and a positive impact on areas such as employment, wage levels, income equality and export earnings, ongoing research is required. This is difficult in the current environment, with some confusion about enforcement (and therefore effective implementation) of the minimum wage in Myanmar.
CESD had previously provided input to the establishment of a minimum wage in Myanmar, notably with a living wage study conducted by CESD and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). CESD Executive Director, Dr Zaw Oo, also co-mediated some of the minimum wage workshops and consultations in 2015.
The workshop of the GMS-Net initiative brought together researchers from across the region to review research proposals and questions, and provide an academic and networking opportunity for subject matter experts in the field of labour research. The meeting was part of the GMS-Net research initiative on “Improving job prospects for young, low-skillied and women workers in the Mekong Region”.
The research initiative intends to provide quality, scientific research on important, sometimes controversial, labour market issues to inform policy decisions by governments in the Mekong region. It receives support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, an implementation partner and donor for CESD’s Labour Market Reform program.
A presentation to the first GMS-NET meeting, held in Cambodia in November 2015, is available for downloading here:
- Presentation: Myanmar’s new minimum wage – Where do we stand? What can we analyze? By Thomas Bernhardt, CESD Research Team.