Six months into Myanmar’s minimum wage: Reflecting on progress

April 25, 2016

​Six months ago, the Government of Myanmar established a national minimum wage, expecting that it would stimulate investment in the garment industry. The new wage, 3,600 Kyat (3 US$) a day, is as much as 4.5 times more than unskilled entry-level workers were earning.

Half a year later, on February 26, 2016, IDRC and the Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD) Myanmar held consultations in Yangon. Key government representatives, employer and employee groups, and international non-governmental organizations gathered for roundtable discussions on the new minimum wage and the path forward.

Participants examined recent results from an IDRC-funded enterprise survey, undertaken by CESD, and exchanged ideas on the likely impacts, enforcement, and future adjustment mechanisms related to the new minimum wage. Overall, they agreed that continued dialogue is essential and that a proper review process is needed to ensure factories comply with the new wage requirements.

Attending the discussion were representatives of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security (MoLES), Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM), and International Labor Organization (ILO).

CESD research associate and host of the workshop, Mi Win Thida, felt it was important to bring key stakeholders together to discuss the processes of negotiating and establishing the new minimum wage. She explains, “The workshop further informs the collective understanding of the challenges and benefits that different stakeholders have experienced since the introduction of a minimum wage, and how they have coped with the new situation.”

CESD is Myanmar’s leading think tank supporting evidence-based policymaking. It is currently working with IDRC to undertake research that will establish the minimum wage and develop recommendations that will provide an ongoing framework to reform and manage Myanmar’s minimum wage law and policies.

Read the full press release: Half a year into Myanmar’s minimum wage – looking back, forging ahead

Find out more about the roundtable discussion organized by CESD and IDRC

Check out the local news coverage of the minimum wage roundtable discussion

Find out how IDRC supports research on the minimum wage in Myanmar

Read more about previous IDRC research on minimum wages: