Work and Wages

This page was last updated on: 2021-03-15

Minimum Wage

The Minister for Labour may fix the minimum wages of any group of wages earners after consultation with representative organizations of workers and employers. After such consultations, a wages order is issued by the Minister for Labour.

In prescribing minimum wages, the minister must, as far as possible, consider –

(a)    the needs of workers and their families, the general level of wages, the cost of living, social security benefits and the relative living standards of order social groups and;

(b)   economic factors, including the requirements of economic development, levels of productivity and any effect the wage might have on employment levels in the country.

The Minister for Labour must, in consultation with representative organizations of workers and employers, reconsider the levels of minimum wages at least once every three years.

Employment Act 2002 states that the Labour Officer must ensure the compliance with this Act, subject to the directions of Labour Commissioner. In case of non-compliance an employee may file a complaint with the District Labour Officer. Trade unions can also represent a person having dispute or alleging violation of a provision of this Act. An employee can also present complaint to the Court.

Any employer who pays a wage below the stipulated minimum wage rate is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of MK 50,000 and to imprisonment for ten years.

Source:§8(5), 54-55 & 64 of the Employment Act (No. 6 of 2000), last amended in 2010 

Regular Pay

The Employment Act defines the terms remuneration and wages separately as follows:

“Remuneration” means the wage or salary and any additional benefits, allowances or emoluments whatsoever payable, directly or indirectly, whether in cash or in kind, by the employer to the employee and arising out of the employees employment; while “Wage” means all earnings, however designated or calculated, capable of being expressed in terms of money and fixed by mutual agreement or by law, which are payable by virtue of a written contract of employment by an employer to an employee for work done or to be done or for service rendered or to be rendered.

The wages payable to an employee are paid in accordance with the terms of the employment contract. Wages must be paid at least once a week, or fortnight in the case of an employee whose wages are fixed by the hour, day or week or calculated solely on a piece-work or task-work basis. Wage payment period cannot exceed one month in the case of employees whose wages are fixed on a monthly or yearly basis.

Where the contract of employment is for a specific task, wages may be paid upon the completion of the task. Wages may be paid on weejkly, fortnightly or monthly basis  if the employer and the employee so agree, in which case the contract is not be considered to be one for a specific task.

The wages must be paid

  1. to the employee or to a person specified by him in writing;
  2. in legal tender (Malawian Kwacha); and
  3. can, with the consent of the employee, be paid by cheque in the sum of the wages payable.

Employers are required to provide an accurate itemized statement/pay slip with following information:

  1. the employee’s gross wages due at the end of the pay period;
  2. the amount of every deduction and the purpose for each deduction; and
  3. employee’s net wages payable at the end of the pay period.

No employer is allowed to pay wages in the form of promissory notes, vouchers or coupons. Employer cannot require or permit a worker to pay or repay any remuneration payable to him or deduction from worker’s wages for the purpose of obtaining or retaining employment. Employer cannot require a worker to make use of any store which is established in connection with the undertaking of the employer or for the sale of commodities to his employees. Wages must not be paid at the places of entertainement and where alcohol or noxious drugs are sold except for the workers who are employed therein.

The employer cannot deduct from an employee’s wages any amount except for the following:-

  1. the employee’s contribution to a compulsory social security scheme;
  2. an amount to be deducted in accordance with law or a court order, provided that such deduction must not exceed 50% of the wages payable in the wage period;
  3. an amount authorized by the employee in writing which is not greater in aggregate to an amount equal to one-half of the wages of the employee and which –
    1. is due to the employee in respect of housing furnished by the employer to the employee, goods sold by the employer to the employee or any loan or advance on his wages granted by the employer to the employee;
    2. the employer has paid or has undertaken to pay in connection with any loan granted to such employee in order to acquire a dwelling or in connection with the hiring of a dwelling or other accommodation; or
    3. the employee owes to a vacation, sick, medical, insurance, savings, provident or pension fund.

Source: §3, 50-52 of the Employment Act (No. 6 of 2000), last amended in 2010


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