Work and Wages

This page was last updated on: 2021-03-22

Minimum Wage

Employment Act regulates minimum wages in Botswana. The minimum wages can be fixed for industries or sections thereof of building, construction, exploration, quarrying, garage, motor trade, road transport, hotel, catering, entertainment, manufacturing, service, repair, wholesale or retail distributive trade, domestic services, agricultural sector and for security guards employed by security companies.

Where the Minister of Labour considers it necessary to fix the minimum wage for any category of employees in any trade, section of trade, industry or section of industry, he must refer the matter to the Minimum Wages Advisory Board (the “Board”). The Board investigates the wages in the concerned industry and makes recommendations to the Minister. However, the Minister is not required to accept the recommendation of the Board. Having considered the recommendations of the Board, the Minister can then, by order published in the Gazette, fix the minimum wage for employees of the relevant category in the industry or section of industry and designate the date on which the minimum wage is to come into operation.

In formulating its recommendations to the Minister, the Board is to take into account certain considerations. First, the needs of the employees in question and their families. General level of wages in Botswana, the cost of living, any social security benefits and the relative living standards of other social groups need to be taken into account. Second, elimination of gender discrimination in respect of wages for equal work. Third, economic factors such as the requirements of economic development, levels of productivity and the necessity of a high level of employment. Last, all other relevant matters.

Where the Minister considers it necessary to adjust or abolish the minimum wage with regards to any category of employees in any industry or section of industry due to the changes in the cost of living as updated by the Government's Central Statistics Office or because of any other relevant changes, he is to refer the question of the adjustment or abolition to the Board. The Board will then investigate and make recommendations. However, before referring any question of the adjustment or abolition of a minimum wage to the Board, the Minister is to, by notice published in the Gazette, declare his intention of doing so. Such a notice is to be published in the Gazette not less than 30 days immediately before the first meeting of the Board concerning the matter. Upon considering the recommendations of the Board, the Minister can abolish the minimum wage in question or adjust it in such manner as he considers appropriate in all the circumstances and designate the date on which the new minimum wage shall come into operation.

Labour Officers ensure compliance with the provisions of the Employment Act, 2010 including the provisions on minimum wages and wage payment.  In order to pursue legal action for contravention of the Act, 2010, the Labour Officers require authorization from the Attorney General.

Where the employer is convicted for failing to comply with minimum wage order, the court can order him to pay to the employee the difference between the statutory wages and wages actually paid.  Furthermore, the employer can also be fined (maximum fine is P2 000) or face imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18 months or to both.

Source: § 10-11, 131-142 and the Fourth Schedule of the Employment Act, 2010

Regular Pay

Under the Employment Act, 2010, basic pay has been defined as the rate of payment, including any payment in kind, made by an employer for work done or services performed during an hourly, weekly, fortnightly or monthly period excluding all other remuneration.

Wage has been defined in relation to any contract of employment, means remuneration or earnings, however designated or calculated, which is paid by an employer to an employee, and is capable of being expressed in monetary terms. It is fixed by mutual agreement or by legislation, and is payable by virtue of a written or oral contract of employment.

A contract of employment may fix periods concerning when wages are payable. However, no wage period is to exceed one month and with regards to casual employees, no wage period can be less than one week. Where the contract of employment is silent as to the wage period, the period is one month.

Wages earned by an employee under his contract of employment must be paid before the expiry of the third working day immediately after the last day of the wage period in respect of which the wages are payable. Where it is not practicable, wages must be paid as soon as it is reasonably practicable to do so.

All payments of wages and any other payments which are due to the employee are to be made on a working day and during working hours at or near the place of employment. However, with the consent of the employee, such payments can be made elsewhere.

An employer can deduct from the wages and any other payments which are amount due by him concerning any tax or rate imposed by law and contribution to any provident or pension fund or scheme established under the Employment Act, 2010 to which the employee has agreed. With the consent of the employee, employee can deduct from wages an amount for rental or service charges for accommodation provided by the employer and where any deduction is allowed for under any collective agreement.

Furthermore, the employer can deduct from the wages any other payments which may be due to the employee, where the employee has requested the employer to remit on his behalf. Deductions can be in respect of unauthorized absence from work; the actual cost of meals, or the cost not subsidized by the employer, supplied by the employer at the request of the employee; such amenities and services supplied by the employer; to recover any over payment of wages; contributions payable by the employee; to recover any basic pay which may have been paid to an employee in respect of annual leave granted by the employer before the completion of the period by virtue of which that leave would have been earned; and for any other purpose which may be approved by the Minister.

Source: § 2, 74, 75 & 80 of the Employment Act, 2010


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