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For decades, Myanmar’s economic system was characterized by economic isolation and central planning. Today, however, as Myanmar is in the middle of a far-reaching political and economic transition, it is leaving this past behind. For Myanmar’s enterprises, and Small and Medium Sizes Enterprises (SMEs) in particular, the opening of the country’s economy in general and the intensification of regional economic integration more specifically, most notably through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community (AEC), bring both opportunities and challenges.
The CESD Labour Team presented research results on labour relations and regional economic integration of private enterprises to Masters of Public Administration (MPA) students at the Yangon University of Economics (Kamaryut Campus) in August 2016.
CESD’s Labor Market Reform Working Paper No. 1/2016 identifies three focus areas for policy makers to ensure an effective implementation of the recent minimum wage system, namely:
- ensuring that businesses comply with the new minimum wage law and government agencies enforce the law;
- monitoring and measuring the impacts of the minimum wage policy on different variables, including formal jobs, informal employment, wage levels, wage distribution, poverty, and social welfare;
- ongoing reviews and adjustments to the minimum wage system, to ensure it remains relevant and appropriate under changing economic and social conditions.
CESD’s Labor Team is providing training and capacity building to graduating students from the Yangon University of Economics as they prepare to undertake research on the socio-economic impacts of the minimum wage. A legal minimum wage was introduced in Myanmar in September 2015. It’s impact on employees and employers will be the focus of the research undertaken by the University of Economics students.
CESD’s labour market research has been reported in Asia Research News 2016, a publication from ResearchSEA Limited. The article notes that a key challenge for labour reform in Myanmar is to balance improvements in wages and working conditions against industry’s need to retain a competitive edge.