Ugandan employers risk Shs10m fine if they break minimum wage law

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Employers that the labour court convicts of breaking the minimum wage law will be fined up to Shs10 million for each offense.

Alternatively, they will be imprisoned for not more than three years.

Worse still, the court could fine them Shs10 million for each offense committed and also sentence them up to three years’ imprisonment if they pay their employees wages that fall below the minimum wage.

“This will force employers to comply with the law,” State Minister for Sports, Mr. Charles Bakkabulindi said during a press conference at Parliament in Kampala yesterday.

Mr. Bakkabulindi also doubles as one of the workers’ representatives in Parliament.

The law provides for the establishment of a minimum wage board that will then decide the minimum wage for each sector or category of workers.

Membership to the board will comprise the ministries of Finance and Gender, Labour and Social Development, Central Organisation of free Trade Unions, the National Organisation of Trade Unions and the Federation of Uganda Employers.

Others will be the Bank of Uganda and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

In deciding the minimum wage, the board will consider the profitability of a sector, the skills of the workers, as well as their productivity, the needs of the workers, as well as their families.

Speaking during the same event, Mr. Arinaitwe Rwakajara, a Commissioner of Parliament behind the Minimum Wages law, said the law will be to the advantage of employees, employers and investors.

Ms. Margaret Rwabushaija (Workers Representative) downplayed fears that the new law would either send investors packing or discourage others from Uganda.

The law does not apply to the Uganda People’s Defence Force, the police and public officials (persons otherwise employed by the government).

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