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Vanuatu - Minimum Wages - 2011


LAST UPDATE

21 September 2011

SOURCES


Name of Act

Minimum Wage Act (Cap 182) Commenced 30 December 1984, incorporating amendments from Act No. 42 of 1984, Act No. 16 of 1985 and Act No. 4 of 1987 and further amended by the Minimum Wage and Minimum Wages Board (Amendment) Act No. 26 of 2010. Laws of the Republic of Vanuatu, consolidated edition 2006. Published by Pacific Islands Legislation Information Institute at http://www.paclii.org/ accessed 20 September 2011.

Name of Act

Employment Act Chapter 160, commenced 30 May 1983 incorporating amendments made in Acts 1 of 1983, 20 of 1986, 33 of 1989, 8 of 1995, 3 of 1997 and 16 of 2001 and including amendments made by Acts 31 of 2008, 33 of 2009 and 25 of 2010. Published by Pacific Islands Legislation Information Institute at www.paclii.org and accessed 21 September 2011.

Other source used

Millenium Development Goals 2010 Report - Vanuatu. Published by the Prime Minister’s Office, September 2010, at http://www.governmentofvanuatu.gov.vu/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=sections&Itemid=41 as accessed 21 September 2011

LEGAL DEFINITIONS


Employee/worker

’Worker’ or ’employee’ means a person who works or normally works or seeks to work:
(a) under a contract of employment; or
(b) under any other contract (whether written, oral or implied) whereby he undertakes to perform personally any work or services for another party to the contract who is not a professional client of his.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §1

Employer

The Minimum Wage Act does not define the term employer, but makes it clear that the provisions of the Act apply to all workers, including public servants, members of the teaching service, the police force, the Vanuatu Mobile Force and the prison services and persons employed by statutory bodies.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §10(1)

MINIMUM WAGE FIXING


Procedure


Procedure in general

The Minimum Wage Act provides for 2 categories of minimum wage. The first category is a national minimum, below which no collective agreement or occupation-specific wage order can go. The second category consists of minimum wage increases for workers in particular occupation or class or grade of occupation, whether generally or in any area, island or region of Vanuatu. The procedue for setting the 2 categories of minimum wage varies, but the Minister may be advised by a Tripartite Labour Advisory Council in relation to both.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 Parts 2 and 3

Government decides alone

The Minister is not obliged to consult the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council with respect to the national minimum wage, which was originally set by the Minimum Wage Act 1984 and is to be increased by order of the Minister where he or she is satisfied it is necessary to do so.

Although it need not be consulted, the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council is empowered to consider and advise the Minister on any matter relating to the fixing of the minimum wage and remuneration for workers generally (§7(2)(b)). This may allow the Council to advise the Minister on the national minimum wage. However, no public consultation is required with respect to such advice, as this requirement is limited to occupational-specific wage proposals (§7(2)(a)).
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §§2, 3(1), 7(2)

Government decides after tripartite or bipartite body discussions/recommendations

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council shall consider and submit wage proposals to the Minister concerning the fixing of minimum wage for workers in any occupation or class or grade of occupation, whether general or in any area, island or region of Vanuatu.

Before submitting a wage proposal to the Minister, the Council shall make its proposals known to the public 8 clear days in advance. It shall invite any affected member of the public to inspect such a wage proposal document at a specified place and call on such persons to make written serious comments or proposals in respect thereof within a specified time limit. The Council shall have regard to any such public comments or proposals when finally submitting the wage proposal to the Minister.

Where the Minister receives a wage proposal or proposals from the Council, he shall as soon as possible thereafter make an Order, giving effect to such proposal or proposals, provided that the Minister may where he thinks fit, refer such proposal or proposals back to the Council for its reconsideration before making such an Order.

Where the Minister on receiving a wage proposal from the Council decides to refer such proposal back to the Council for its reconsideration, the Council shall again publish the proposal, call for serious comment and have regard to any comments received (as above), whether or not the Board has made or intends to make amendments to such a proposal, before finally submitting it again to the Minister.

The Council shall consist of the Commissioner of Labour, who is the chairperson of the Council, 3 Government representatives nominated by the Minister of Internal affairs upon the advice of the Director General of Internal Affairs, 3 members nominated by the Vanuatu Council of Trade Unions and 3 members nominated by the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §§5, 7(2)(a), 7(4), 8(2), 8(3)
Employment Act 1983 (as amended up to 2010) §1C (see 2010 Amendment)

Criteria


Needs of workers and their families

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council shall take account of the needs of workers and their families.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §7(3)(a)

Cost of living

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council shall take account of the cost of living and changes therein.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §7(3)(c)

Level of wages and incomes in the country

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council shall take account of the general level of wages in Vanuatu.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §7(3)(b)

Social security benefits

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council shall take account of social security benefits.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §7(3)(d)

Economic development

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council shall take account of the requirements of economic development.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §7(3)(f)

Productivity

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council shall take account of levels of productivity.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §7(3)(f)

Level of employment

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council shall take account of the desirability of attaining and maintaining a high level of employment.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §7(3)(f)

Other provisions

The Tripartite Labour Advisory Council shall take account of the relative living standards of other social groups.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §7(3)(e)

Coverage


Scope

The provisions of the Minimum Wage Act shall apply to all workers, including public servants, members of the teaching service, the police force, the Vanuatu Mobile Force and the prison services and persons employed by statutory bodies.

The national minimum wage shall apply to every worker in Vanuatu, whether employed or engaged as a contractor to personally perform work or services for another party who is not a professional client.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §§1, 2, 3(1), 3(2)(a), 8(4), 10(1)
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Excluded categories


» Workers

Specific categories of workers, or workers in a specified area, may be excluded from the scope of the national minimum wage by ministerial order.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §3(2)(b)
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Specific minimum wage rates


» Specific minimum wage by occupation

Specific minimum wage rates may be set by occupation, or by class or grade of occupation in accordance with the terms of the relevant wage proposal and pursuant ministerial order.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §§3(1), 3(2)(a), 7(2)(a), 8(4)
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» Specific minimum wage by region

Minimum wage rates fixed upon recommendation of the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council may be fixed in relation to workers of a specific occupation, class or grade in any area, island or region of Vanuatu as specified in the relevant ministerial order.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §8(4)
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Level


Minimum wage level(s) in national currency

The national minimum wage is Vt 26,000 per month.
Millenium Development Goals 2010 Report - Vanuatu pxiii
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Last minimum wage update

2008
Millenium Development Goals 2010 Report - Vanuatu pxiii

In-kind allowances

Subject to the written approval of a labour officer, a part of the remuneration may be paid in the form of allowances in kind in industries or occupations in which such payment is customary or desirable because of the nature of industry or occupation concerned. However, before granting his approval the labour officer shall satisfy himself that:
(a) such allowances are appropriate for the personal use and benefit of the employee and his family;
(b) the value attributed to such allowance is fair and reasonable.
Employment Act 1983 (as amended up to 2010) §16(2)
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Rate of payment


» Monthly

Remuneration shall be paid monthly, except where the employee must be paid at least every 15 days (i.e. employees whose remuneration is calculated by the hour or the day of the week).
Employment Act 1983 (as amended up to 2010) §16(7)

» Other

Remuneration shall be paid at regular intervals not exceeding 15 days to every employee whose remuneration is calculated by the hour or the day of the week.
Employment Act 1983 (as amended up to 2010) §16(7)
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Scheduled frequency of adjustment

No scheduled frequency of adjustment identified.

Enforcement mechanisms


Labour inspection

The Minister may appoint wage officers, who may be officers from the Government’s Department of Labour, a wage officer shall have power to:
(a) to require an employer to produce wage sheets or other records of wages kept by him and to inspect and examine those sheets or records and to copy any relevant parts thereof;
(b) to require any employer or his servant or agent, to give any information of which he has or should have knowledge in respect of the names and addresses of persons employed by him under whatever terms or conditions, and with respect to the remuneration paid or to be paid for such employment;
(c) to require any worker to give any information which it is in his knowledge to give in respect of the remuneration he has been or shall be receiving for his work generally or for any aspect of it;
(d) at all reasonable times to enter any premises at which any employer to whom a minimum wage Order applies carries on his business (including any place in connection with that business);
(e) to examine, either alone or in the presence of any other person, as the wage officer thinks necessary, any worker or person who used to work, or any employer or his servant or agent, in respect of any matter relating to wage or remuneration received or paid, as the case may be, and the wage officer may require every such person to sign a declaration as to the truthfulness of any statements made in such examination:
Provided that no person shall be required to give any information which would tend to incriminate him.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §9(4)

Fines in national currency for non-respect of legislation

An employer or his servant or agent may be liable for a fine of VT 100,000 where found guilty of any of the following offences:
(a) refusing to comply with a wage officer’s request for wage records or employee information, or making any false or misleading statements relating thereto;
(b) preventing by any means a wage officer from exercising his power to enter the employer’s premises; or
(c) making false or misleading statements in an examination in respect of any matter relating to wage or remuneration paid.

A worker may be liable for a fine of VT 20,000 where he or she is found to have refused to comply with a wage officer’s request for information in respect of the remuneration he has received or shall receive, or to have made false or misleading statements in an examination in respect of any matter relating to wage or remuneration received.

An employer may be liable to a fine of VT 200,000 where he or she is found to have paid a worker a wage or remuneration that is less than the minimum wage prescribed by an applicable minimum wage order.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §11
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Other penalties

An employer or his servant or agent may be imprisoned for 2 years where found guilty of any of the following offences:
(a) refusing to comply with a wage officer’s request for wage records or employee information, or making any false or misleading statements relating thereto;
(b) preventing by any means a wage officer from exercising his power to enter the employer’s premises; or
(c) making false or misleading statements in an examination in respect of any matter relating to wage or remuneration paid.

A worker may be imprisoned for 6 months where he or she is found to have refused to comply with a wage officer’s request for information in respect of the remuneration he has received or shall receive, or to have made false or misleading statements in an examination in respect of any matter relating to wage or remuneration received.

An employer may be imprisoned for 4 years where he or she is found to have paid a worker a wage or remuneration that is less than the minimum wage prescribed by an applicable minimum wage order.
Minimum Wage Act 1984 §11
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Results generated on: 22nd October 2014 at 15:56:10.
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