The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Anna Mokgethi says government will consider the adjustment of minimum wage in the current financial year.

She said the Minimum Wage Advisory Board, convened on the 10th August 2023 and 13th September 2023 and 31st October 2023 to consider the adjustment of the minimum wage rates. She said the tripartite plus have considered factors of inflation, the buying power and other economic factors in their conclusions. Mokgethi stated that as is required by law, she has received their recommendations for consideration. “The intention is to adjust the minimum wages rates before the end of this financial year. I am currently not in a position to confirm setting the minimum wage at any rate.

As indicated, I have received recommendations from the Board and the decision on the adjustment of the current rates will be influenced by the recommendations and justifications thereof by the Board,” said the minister this week in Parliament. She said the last minimum adjustment was in January 2022.

Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo had asked the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs when she will consider increasing the minimum wage and to explain the Ministry's approach to the minimum wage and employee protection in Botswana. Mokgethi indicated to Parliament that the determination of minimum wages is provided for under the Employment Act.

She said Section 131 of the same Act provides for the establishment of the Minimum Wages Advisory Board (MWAB) which facilitates the Minister in determining the minimum wages. She said in accordance with the Third Schedule of the Employment Act, the Board consists of members from the tripartite plus; independent persons; representatives from Government, employers and workers.

Mokgethi pointed out that in terms of Section 132 (1), "where the Minister considers it necessary or expedient to fix the minimum wage for any category of employees in any trade, section of trade, industry or section of industry specified in the Fourth Schedule of the Act, he shall refer the matter to the Board and the Board shall investigate the wages in the trade, section of trade industry or section of industry in question and make recommendations to him as to the minimum wage which should, in the Board's opinion, be payable to the employees belonging to the relevant category."

She said in doing their work, the Board considers: the needs of the employees concerned and their families, taking into consideration the general level of wages in Botswana, the cost of living, any social security benefits and the relative living standards of other social groups; the desirability of eliminating discrimination between the sexes in respect of wages for equal work; economic factors, including the requirements of economic development, levels of productivity and the desirability of attaining and maintaining a high level of employment; and all other relevant matters. Mokgethi stated that the Board also considered the economic background paper from the Ministry of Finance.

She indicated that the paper provided an overview of the economic and labour market situation in the country. According to the minister, the Board also considered information on retrenchments and Minimum wage contraventions from her Ministry. She told Parliament that these data from the two Ministries assist the Board to reflect on issues pertaining to the level of wages in the country, as well as the issue of employers' affordability to pay, among other things.

“My Ministry, through the Labour Inspectorate, conducts regular inspections in all sectors of the economy to enhance compliance with labour laws and prevent the abuse of employees. Furthermore, my Ministry is currently in the process to reviewing labour laws. Consultations on the Employment and Labour Relations Bill by the tripartite Labour Law Review Committee have been concluded,” explained Mokgethi, adding that the review is intended to improve the current legislation and align with international labour standards.