Work and Wages

Minimum Wage

Minimum wage is regulated under the Labour Act in Namibia. The Minister for Labour has the power to issue wage orders to decide the remuneration and working conditions for employees in a particular industry or area after considering the recommendations of the Wage Commission. The Wage Commission is formed either by the Minister, or upon the request of a trade union and/or registered employers’ organization. The function of the Wage Commission is to investigate the conditions of employment including remuneration and accordingly report back to the Minister. The Wages Commission is a tripartite body with representation from workers and employers’ organizations.

The Wage Commission’s report must also consist of recommendations for minimum remuneration, the basis upon which the remuneration is based, the deductions allowed or disallowed, wage payment method, keeping of employment records, prohibition or regulation of certain kinds of work etc. For updating the minimum wage, the Wage Commission can recommend increase or decrease in the remuneration, and the Minister can issue a new wage order accordingly. Minimum wages are generally set through the collective agreements. There are separate collective agreements for agriculture and industry.

The Labour Act, 2007 in itself does not provide a list of factors to be taken into account for the determination of minimum wage. Furthermore, the law does not require that the minimum wage must take into account the living expenses of the employees.

For the purpose of compliance, the labour inspector can assist employees in filing complaints. Furthermore, the inspector may investigate and issue a compliance order where the employer has failed to comply with the wage order. A person who fails to comply with the compliance order is liable to a fine not exceeding N$ 10,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to two years or both.

Source: §13, 105-106, 114, 125-127 of the Labour Act, 2007

Regular Pay

The Labour Act defines basic wage as a part of an employee’s remuneration in money including the cash equivalent of payment for the work done during the hours ordinarily worked. However, this definition does not include allowances or pay for overtime. Additional pay for work done on Sunday or a public holiday as well as additional pay for night work or payments for pension, annuity, medical benefits or insurance are not included.

The employer is required to pay to the employees their monetary remuneration not later than one hour upon completion of ordinary hours of work on the payday. The wage payment may be made on daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. The payment is to be in cash or at employee’s option, by cheque. The payment can be made either to the employee or by a direct deposit into an account designated in writing by that employer. Whether the payment is by cash or cheque, it has to be made in a sealed envelope.

The employer cannot deduct from the employee’s remuneration unless the deduction is allowed on a Court order or as prescribed in any law. That being said, as long as the deduction does not exceed one third (33%) of the employee’s remuneration, a deduction can also be allowed under any collective agreement or arbitration award, or if the deduction was agreed in writing and concerns a payment due from the employee. For the latter, a deduction can only be made for rent where accommodation has been provided by the employer, where goods have been sold by the employer, a loan has been advanced by the employer, contributions have been made to employee benefit funds, or subscription or levies to a registered trade union.

The employer cannot impose fine on an employee unless there is authorization from a statute or a collective agreement. Furthermore, the employer cannot require the employee to buy goods from the employer, use services rendered by the employer for reward, pay for the goods supplied by the employer at a higher price than the amount paid by the employer along with reasonable costs. Also, the employer cannot require or permit an employee to repay any remuneration duly paid to an employee or acknowledge receipt of an amount greater than the remuneration actually received.

Where the employment contract or collective agreement allows, an employer through a written notice to reduce the ordinary working hours of the employee for a maximum period of three months for operational reasons or as otherwise provided by law and can reduce employee’s remuneration but by no more than one-half (50%).

Labour Act also requires an employer to provide pay slip to the worker indicating the wages paid.

The Labour Act has given the formula for calculation of remuneration and basic wages.

Source: §8(b) & 10-12 of the labour Act, 2007  


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