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New Labor Law: March 1 Enforcement Requires Commitment, Sincerity

The Ministry will begin the enforcement of the New Labour act beginning March 1, 2016. The New Labor Law Act places emphasis on decent work act passed into law in 2015 by the Legislature.

The ministry has urged local and foreign companies in Liberia to cooperate in implementing the new law. Labour Minister Neto Z. Lighe made the enforcement vow last Wednesday, 27 January 2016 at his Ministry during a ceremony to honor him.

On Friday June 26, 2015, the President of Liberia officially sign the bill into law at a special ceremony organized by the Ministry of Labor at the Foreign Ministry on Capitol Hill after spending five years in the corridors of the Legislature.

Wages for all workers in the formal sector, including concessions, industries businesses, as well as companies, among others known as skilled workers, were set at US$5.50 per day or US$0.68 per hour, while those for domestic and casual workers or unskilled workers were set at US$3.50 per day or US$0.43 per hour.

Deliberations during the emergence of the Bill set the threshold for minimum wage at US$6.00 per hour, while the House of Representatives went up US$7.20 per hour. While we cautiously welcome the enforcement of the law come March 1, 2016 – though many had thought such should have actually commence January 1, the possibility of the effective and efficient enforcement of the law is what worries many of us.

Whether or not the Lebanese, Indian and other foreign businesses and investments/companies will adhere to the law, especially the wage band, would also greatly depend on the Ministry of Labor and others.

Last Wednesday’s vow by the Minister is something to hold up high, but the commitment and sincerity of his men and women in following up is something uncertain. Moreover, we are even worried about Liberian-owned businesses, as well as public officials who have domestic and farm workers in terms of meeting up with these wages.

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Again, we trust that the Ministry of Labor and others had already put in place the necessary monitoring measures to ensure the successful enforcement of the law in the interest of the nation. Other than the foregoing, we may just be up for another good, but weak law.


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