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Ministry Official Calls for Review of Labour Policies, Salaries

Source: Vientiane Times
Business owners should review their policies on wages, taking into account the rising cost of living and inflation and making sure their employees have adequate pay packets, a ministry official has said.

The senior official from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, who wishes to remain anonymous, made the comment when addressing the Annual Labour Conference for 2022.

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Many factories and companies in Laos have vacancies but few people are interested in working for the low pay that is offered. The cost of living is high in Laos and wages do not meet workers’ basic needs, so they look for jobs across the border instead, he said.

Companies in Laos are suffering from a shortage of workers but there is a lack of accurate data on the situation which has given rise to issues such as informality in the recruitment process and a lack of employment protection.

President and Director General of JLS-Laos (a light manufacturing company), Mr. Hadsady Inthahack, said “Our company pays higher than average wages. Our aim is to encourage employees to stay with our company and not quit. We don’t want workers to seek new jobs with other companies or in neighboring countries.”

“We think a pay rise is vital to improve workers’ standard of living and ease their hardships amid spiraling costs, with prices rising every month and year.”

“Business operators must come up with new strategies on salaries, as higher prices are affecting transportation, driving up inflation and the overall cost of living, and at the same time we must encourage people to work in Laos rather than in other countries,” Mr. Hadsady said.

The ministry official also called for greater attention to health and safety in the workplace and for employers to provide more in the way of social welfare.

The Lao Federation of Trade Unions has expressed concern that Laos will face a shortage of skilled workers if companies do not pay at least the minimum wage, with many people already heading to jobs in other ASEAN countries.

A nationwide survey was carried out to determine whether the existing minimum wage is adequate given the high cost of living, with the findings indicating that it is insufficient in today’s circumstances.

The paltry wages paid to many workers in Laos are the main reason why numerous skilled workers continue to seek jobs in neighboring countries, according to Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Mr. Phongxaysack Intharat.