There are many women in Vanuatu who don’t know how much they should be getting paid. Others are afraid to speak up if they think they are getting underpaid, while some are in fear of the consequences of reporting a boss who is treating them unfairly. There have also been reports of women having their pay unfairly deducted, particularly house girls and hospitality staff, for small misdemeanors such as accidentally breaking a plate. If this is the case, you can report unfair work conditions to the Labor Department.
It is against the law if your wage is less than minimum wage of 170vt an hour. As of April 2014 the most recent Minimum Wage Order is Order 109 of 2012. According to that legislation, 170 vatu per hour ‘is the rate that must be paid for regular hours of work of up to 44 hours per week, or 8 hours per day. If the regular hours are exceeded, overtime must be paid in accordance with the law. There are four exceptions to this:
- seasonal copra cutters shall be paid a minimum of 13.5 per cent of the price fixed by the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board for hot air or sun-dried copra.
- seasonal cocoa cutters shall be paid a minimum of 6 per cent of the price fixed by the Vanuatu Commodities Marketing Board for 1st grade cocoa.
- students engaged during school holidays shall be paid a minimum of 250 vatu per day.
- children who are employed in accordance with the relevant sections of the Employment Act shall be paid a minimum of 250 vatu per day.
What is VNPF?
The minimum wage includes your VNPF employee contribution. The Vanuatu National Providence Fund (VNPF) is an establishment of the government that assists Ni-Vanuatu citizens to have security in the future. It is a scheme that ensures you have income when you retire, which is important as Vanuatu doesn’t have a government funded welfare system.
As of 2004, the contribution rate to VNPF is 4% from the employee and 4% from the employer, making a total of 8%. This amount is to be paid before the last day of the following month. The 4% contribution from the employee is automatically deducted every time the employee is paid. It is the responsibility of your employer to handle the VNPF contributions and you shouldn’t feel afraid to ask him or her about it, as it’s your right to have that security.
What can I do if I’m not being paid the minimum wage?
If you think you are not being paid the minimum wage, you can visit the Labor Department, which is located opposite Digicel downtown Port Vila, above the Vietnamese restaurant or you can call them on 23233. You will be given a form and instructed with further information to ensure that you are given your rights.
Minimum wages information can be found in Orders made under the Minimum Wages and Minimum Wages Board Act [Cap 182]. Basic information can be found on this link: http://vcci.com.vu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/4.3-factsheet-minimum-wages.pdf