6
Business News Tue, 1 Oct 2019

Set minimum wage above US$100 per month - Expert tells gov’t

A human resource expert, Naomi Addison, has described the current minimum wage of GHc288 per month as a ‘very small amount’, which has the potential to prevent many employers from paying workers their Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension contributions.

Mrs. Addison who is also the Country Director of Main Spring Resourcing said the current minimum wage, which requires that no employer should pay an employee below GHc288 every month, is ‘nothing to write home about.’

She said some employers who use the minimum as yardstick and pay their workers with that amount (GHc 288) might not be able to deduct SSNIT because doing so will mean that they are paying the employee below the minimum wage.

“The minimum wage is GHc288 for the month. This means that anybody who earns GH288 might not get the opportunity to pay SSNIT contribution because the employer might be paying you below the minimum wage if he takes the SSNIT deductions from it.

So you can work for months and receive no SSNIT deduction. I think that if you are not earning up to US100 or GHc500 then I don’t think you can survive,” she said.

She therefore called on government to increase the minimum wage to at least US$ 100 per month. This, she said, would let the employees whose salaries are benchmarked with the minimum wage left with a significant amount of salary after SSNIT deductions.

Even though the minimum wage is just a benchmark below which employers are not suppose to pay their workers, she believes that many employers pay workers around that amount, that is GHc288.

“Unfortunately people are using that as a yardstick to say am paying you above the minimum wage…which in the actual sense is not enough,” she added.

Meanwhile, the National Tripartite Committee (NTC) announced an increase in the National Daily Minimum Wage (NDMW) to GH¢11.82 this year.

The new NDMW is an 11 per cent increase over the previous one from GH¢10.65 figure for 2019.

But Mrs. Addison comment comes at a time where most private sector employers do not comply with provisions of the Tier-2 pension scheme, which mandates companies to contribute 5 percent into a privately managed pension scheme.

It is reckoned that out of 51,466 private establishments/companies active under the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), only 20,876 (40.5 percent) are enrolled under the mandatory Second Tier Occupational Scheme.

This year, SSNIT told the media that it has recovered more than GH¢378 million in less than three years from prosecutions made on employers and organisations after a forensic audit of their books revealed they have defaulted in paying monthly contributions of their workers for some years now.

The monies were recovered through a mass inspection exercise carried out by SSNIT, which revealed that a lot or employers were, either not paying monthly contributions of their workers at all, or not paying in full.

Source: thebftonline.com