HomePOLITICSParliament to Send Back Minimum wage Bill to the President

Parliament to Send Back Minimum wage Bill to the President

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By Jimmy Twist

The Minimum Wage Bill, 2015 is to be sent back to the president for the second time without any changes being made to the bill.

The bill championed by Workers MP Arinatwe Rwakajara which was passed by parliament in February last year seeks to set up a minimum wage determination mechanism across different sectors of the economy.

In his presentation on the floor of parliament, Rwakajara the mover of the bill lobby legislators to support the Bill because it intended to address the gaps in the current Minimum Wage Advisory Board Act, 1957 which does not provide for an employee-employer led, and a sartorial based minimum wage determination.

The bill seeks to have establishment of minimum wages boards by the minister, mechanisms for determining minimum wages for each sector, duties, powers and functions of the board and the procedures for determining the minimum wage.

The Bill, among other provisions, empowers the Minister of Labour to appoint a Minimum Wages Board to fix all minimum wages for various sectors and also mandates the minister to announce the minimum wages annually.

The Bill provides that employers will face a three-year jail term or a penalty of up to 10 million Shillings, for paying below the set minimum wage among others

However, the bill wasn’t ascended to by the President Yoweri Museveni who returned it back to parliament for the second time on August 2019 for unknown reasons.

Its alleged that the bill that was downplayed by the former Minister of Labour, Gender and Social Development Janat Mukwaya and the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga  who opined to the president not to sign the bill into law.

They argued that there were no gaps in the Minimum Wages Advisory Board and Wages Council Act that the Bill seeks to replace.

According to the law, the bill will automatically be passed into law as an Act of parliament in case the president fails to sign and sends it back to parliament for the second time.

 What next about the Bill now 

The Speaker told MPs that since the President rejected the entire Bill, unlike in instances where he highlights areas to be changed when he returns bills to Parliament, the clerk to Parliament should allocate time on the order paper to the member responsible for the Bill to bring it to the House so that parliament can take a decision on the entire Bill.

Rwakajara is now optimistic that the change of political leadership at the gender ministry will facilitate enactment of the minimum wage bill and he will convince the president to sign the bill for good working environment of workers

 The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines a minimum wage as the minimum sum of money payable to a worker for work performed or services rendered within a given period to cover the minimum needs of the worker, his or her family, in light of national economic and social conditions.

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