Lebanon Businessnews News

Wage resolution on hold
Labor Minister proposes raising minimum wage to $575
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The Minister of Labor Charbel Nahas has referred to the cabinet a series of draft decrees for settling the wage increase dispute. The Cabinet was set to convene on November 30, but the session was adjourned to an unannounced date.

Nahas proposed raising the minimum wage to around LL860,000 ($573), after the inclusion of the monthly transportation allowances which has been raised to LL236,000 ($157).

The proposals were based on a 16 percent inflation rate, estimated by the Central Administration of Statistics. The decree suggested adding nine percent to the inflation rate, thus raising the ratio of the wage increase to 25 percent. Employers and employees currently pay nine percent (of the monthly wage) in subscriptions to the sickness and maternity fund of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). Thus, the minister called the Council of Ministers to transfer a treasury allocation of LL400 billion ($266 million) to the Ministry of Labor in order to substitute for the omitted social security payments.

Nahas submitted another draft decree entailing a raise of the education allowances to LL40,000 ($26) per month for every child. The decree set a maximum of LL160,000 ($106) per month for all children in each family.
Business leaders have utterly rejected the government’s intervention in imposing a raise on transportation allowances, and the inclusion of these allowances to the basic salary.

The president of the Beirut Traders Association, Nicolas Chammas, said that the economic bodies will contest Nahas’ draft decree on raising transportation and education allowances. Chammas also rejected including transportation allowances in the basic salary. “This would raise the NSSF subscriptions paid by employers (21.5 percent of the basic salary), and increase the income tax of employees,” he said.
Date Posted: Nov 30, 2011
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