The Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) has called for a flexible minimum wage structure for domestic workers, advocating for a tiered system that considers the varying financial capacities of employers. Harrington Chibanda, the ZFE’s Chief Executive Officer, voiced concerns about the financial strain uniform minimum wages might impose on employers.
In an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka, Chibanda proposed a tiered minimum wage system that acknowledges the diverse financial capabilities of employers. He suggested a structure where those capable of affording the standard monthly rate of 1300 Zambian kwacha (K1300) for domestic workers could do so. However, he stressed the need for diverse minimum wage rates aligned with different income levels to alleviate the burden on employers while ensuring fair compensation.
Chibanda recommended a flexible work arrangement that allows for part-time employment, proposing that part-time workers be compensated at a rate less than the standard K1300. This approach, he noted, aims to acknowledge that not all workers may require full-time employment or remuneration.
Emphasizing the potential benefits of flexibility, Chibanda encouraged workers to explore part-time opportunities, recognizing the need for additional income sources and promoting financial resilience.
The ZFE acknowledges the challenges faced by employers, particularly those in the private sector, highlighting the potential difficulty in meeting the newly announced K1300 minimum wage for domestic workers. Chibanda emphasized the necessity to strike a balance between fair compensation and the economic realities faced by both employers and employees.
This call for a flexible minimum wage structure follows recent announcements by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Brenda Tambatamba, who declared an increase in the minimum wage for domestic workers to k1300. Tambatamba also revealed adjusted minimum wages for shop workers, ranging between K2,313.10 and K4,638.25, among other increments.
The ZFE’s proposal for a tiered and flexible minimum wage system signals a broader conversation on balancing fair compensation with employers’ financial capacities, aiming to address the diverse needs of both employers and workers within Zambia’s employment landscape.