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Minimum Wage in Zambia - Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a separate legislation relating to minimum wages in Zambia?

MINIMUM WAGES AS PER LAW: Zambia has a Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act that defines the Minimum Wage per sector. For example, what the roles of Domestic Workers are and what benefits they are entitled. The same apply for other sector. However, the Act does not set out conditions of employment for public service workers. Workers on Zambian Government payroll.

MINIMUM WAGES IMPLEMENTED IN PRACTISE: Even though there is the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act. Some employers tend to ignore it and end up being reprimanded by Government.

Do one or more minimum wages exist that is/are determined by law?

Apart from the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, Zambia has other sector-tailored laws that are prescribed to specific industries. For example, Shopkeepers Act and the Domestic Workers Act. These are initially supposed to part of the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act. However, they are occasionally amended to suit the industry/sector.

At what level are minimum wages determined?

MINIMUM WAGES AS PER LAW: The Laws on Minimum Wages are determined at national level only through the Tripartite Consultative Labour Council. A body comprising Government representatives, employers and trade unions.

MINIMUM WAGES IMPLEMENTED IN PRACTISE: Over the previous years, the Council has not been involved as only the Central government solely determines the adjustments in Zambian Minimum Wages.

On what basis is minimum wage calculated?

MINIMUM WAGES AS PER LAW: The Minimum Wages in Zambia are determined and calculated on a monthly basis. Previously this was done on hourly basis but Government decided to adjust this to monthly basis as part reform.

MINIMUM WAGES IMPLEMENTED IN PRACTISE: In practice, there is no specific basis for calculating Minimum Wages in Zambia. As some employers do it on an hourly basis while others do it on a monthly basis.

In case of weekly/monthly minimum age, are they based on any fixed number of hours?

MINIMUM WAGES AS PER LAW: Yes they are based on the number of days in week that an employee spends at work. MINIMUM WAGES IMPLEMENTED IN PRACTISE: Most employers calculate the Minimum Wage based on any five days employees attends to their role.

Are governmental bodies, employer and/or trade union representatives involved in minimum wages setting?

MINIMUM WAGES AS PER LAW: There used to be what was known as the Tripartite Consultative Labour Council (TCLC), which comprised Government representatives, trade unions and employer’s representative. This body used to set the Minimum Wages previously, but since the new Government come into power in September 2011, this body has not functioned as a union and it seems to have been disbanded. The Government has been adjusting Minimum Wages without consulting employers and trade union representatives. The upward increase in Minimum Wages in 2012 raised some concerns which led to a legal dispute between the Minister of Labour and Federation of Employers.

MINIMUM WAGES IMPLEMENTED IN PRACTISE: The Council has not been involved ever since the change of Government in 20011 and has been led to a legal dispute between the Ministry of Labour and the Zambian Federation of Employers.

How are upratings (adjustments) of minimum wage/s decided upon?

MINIMUM WAGES AS PER LAW: Since the change of Government in September 2011, The TCLC has is no longer consulted and Government is the one that adjust the Minimum Wage.

MINIMUM WAGES IMPLEMENTED IN PRACTISE: The Government is the sole authority that and stakeholder that is announcing the changes to the Minimum Wage. There is no consultation in actual practice.

Which are the components of minimum wage in Zambia?

MINIMUM WAGES AS PER LAW: The Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act have fixed. The Shop Keepers and Domestic Workers Wages are not fixed as they can be changed at short notice and without consultation.

MINIMUM WAGES IMPLEMENTED IN PRACTISE: There has been no significant change in over two years. These have been adjusted on two occasions in the last 24 months.

How frequently is the fixed component of minimum wage updated?

MINIMUM WAGES AS PER LAW: The Minimum Wages have been adjusted upwards twice since September 2011 and it appears that there is no longer a tripartite consultation process.

MINIMUM WAGES IMPLEMENTED IN PRACTISE: There is no specified frequency as these are changed at anytime, and at the discretion of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

What is/are the yardstick/s on which minimum wage upratings are based?

MINIMUM WAGES AS PER LAW: Minimum Wages are determined by the cost of living and public outcry. If the cost of living is affordable and there is no concerns from the public.

MINIMUM WAGES IMPLEMENTED IN PRACTISE: The higher the cost of living, the higher the demands to adjust the minimum wage. This happens even though the Government sometimes never heed as it is the final authority.

How is minimum wages compliance regulated?

Once new minimum wages are in effect, there is no follow up mechanism and compliance is therefore at the discretion of the employer. Joint monitoring by trade unions and employers is by law provided for but the Labour Office under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security does all the monitoring at present.

Which legal sanctions can be applied in compliance is lacking?

The Government through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has the legal mandate to banish or suspend the operating licence of the defaulting entity.