The Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development has warned employers against abusing workers due to the ailing economy.
The ministry has since said it will start workplace inspections across the country to check on employees’ welfare.
The development comes in the wake of a worsening economic situation, compounded by power shortages—which have slowed down output of most businesses—and concerns by the Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) that some employers are taking advantage of the situation to abuse workers by not paying them in time.
In an interview on Wednesday, Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) executive director Beyani Munthali said that due to the current state of the business environment, employers are struggling and so too are employees.
“Firms are working very hard to ensure their workers are paid and at times, these payments are done a bit later than normal. The one priority is to make sure the welfare of employees is taken care of, but now this is tough to achieve effectively when businesses are struggling,” he said.
Munthali, however, said that employers are still discussing with government to provide a conducive environment and the trade unions to find lasting solutions with the aim of making sure that businesses prosper and that workers are paid and their welfare is taken care of.
In a separate interview, spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Simon Mbvundula said that the ministry will conduct inspection tours in all the three regions to ensure that the welfare of workers is prioritised despite the challenging economic environment.
“While it is expected that at times, companies, especially small enterprises sail through tough times due to the economic challenges, we expect employers to prioritise their workers’ salaries in the same vein.
In the same vein, we will be inspecting workplaces across the country just to make sure that labour laws are adhered to and that workers are not taken advantage of because of the ailing economy,” he said.
Mbvundula said while mediation is encouraged among employers and their members of staff, the country’s labour laws do not condone non-payment of workers against what has been stipulated in the employment contracts, hence employers who infringe on such contracts risk legal redress. n