Employers ask government to set minimum wage at Shs100,000, down from the Shs130,000 passed in the parliamentary

The Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE), the umbrella that brings together all employers in Uganda, has asked government to set Shs100,000 as the minimum wage across all sectors.

Parliament two weeks ago passed the 2015 Minimum Wage Bill into law, setting Shs130,000 as the minimum amount of money that an employer should pay anyone they employ, and decreeing that employers who pay their workers a monthly sum below the stated amount will face a three year-jail term or a penalty of up to Shs10 million.

FUE’s request now would appear like a petition to have Parliament’s figure revised downwards.

Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the Employer of the Year 2019 survey yesterday, Mr Douglas Opio, the FUE executive director, said his federation’s salary surveys over the years have indicated that employers are open to having a minimum wage, and particularly want it at Sh100,000.

“Across the board, [in a survey conducted in 2016] it was established that employers want Shs100,000 as the minimum wage,” Mr. Opio said, without explaining the basis on which the figure was reached.

Mr. Opio, however, emphasized that as spelt out by the recently-passed parliamentary bill, the different sectors will have their individual mimimum wage figures established by their governing bodies, as long as they aren’t below Shs100,000. He, for example, indicated that through consultations with employers in the construction sector, based on current wage levels paid to workers, FUE established a minimum wage of Shs160,000 for the sector.

Mr. Opio said that while employers are willing to embrace the minimum wage, they are also conscious of the ability of the employer to pay.
For instance, if the minimum wage is set at a high threshold, the employer will not be able to comply, which he said could culminate into higher unemployment levels.

The Shs130,000 Minimum Wage Bill, passed by Parliament on February 20, is awaiting presidential assent.