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 What are your thoughts on the proposed minimum wage increase?

The government will raise the monthly minimum wage from the current 1,300,000 kip to 1,600,000 kip in October. The increase will give people much-needed extra income and improve the welfare of workers at the bottom of the wage scale, while also helping to reducing inequality. Vientiane Times asked around for opinions on the pay rise.

Ms Tay Inthavong, an employee in Xaysomboun province: The cost of living has skyrocketed and prices are rising every day, as well as rents and other expenses. I would like to thank the government for increasing the minimum wage, but any increase should match living costs. The proposed amount is nothing like enough to cover people’s living costs, but I know it’s hopeless to try to persuade the government to offer more than 1.6 million kip. I urge the authorities to do more to keep prices in check, especially for fuel and other essentials. Unfortunately, prices always rise when the government approves a pay increase.

Mr Saiyasis Nidmaniphon, an employee in Luang Prabang province:  I’m glad that the government has approved a minimum wage increase. I think this is essential because it will be a welcome boost to low-income workers, especially as the cost of living is now more than twice the basic salary earned by many people. A pay rise will help to improve people’s lives while also improving the workplace atmosphere. I hope the wage increase will be rolled out quickly and that all minimum wage earners are able to get the extra money promised to them. 

Ms Phoutthana, an employee in Xaythany district, Vientiane:  I think it’s good news during the difficult situation we’re all facing, especially as living expenses are rising much faster than incomes. I know that almost everything we use is imported and prices are greatly influenced by currency exchange rates. Along with raising the minimum wage, the authorities should take steps to cap product prices and also strengthen the value of the kip. This would go some way to ensuring that incomes match the cost of living.
Ms Sengmany, an employee in Xaysettha district, Vientiane: It’s good that the government has decided to increase the minimum wage. Everyone is facing more hardship these days amid the rising cost of living, with prices rising every day. I think the pay rise will also encourage people to do better quality work, encourage people to become qualified, and help develop a more highly skilled workforce, which will help Laos reach regional and international levels of development. However, it would be good if the government can control inflation, strengthen the value of the kip, keep product prices in check, and make sure there are no more fuel shortages.

Ms Kee, an employee in Sikhottabong district, Vientiane: This is very good news, and a good way to improve workers’ lives. The pay increase is woefully inadequate compared to the cost of living today, but it’s better than nothing. I hope that employers will comply with the government’s decision and pay the extra money to their employees. In the past when the government has announced a wage increase, the price of goods on sale in markets also rises. I would like the government to closely monitor the price of essential products such as meat, eggs, rice and drinking water, so that people can afford basic household staples.   

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update August 21, 2023)

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