Tourism operators in the Maldives have hailed the government’s enforcement of a minimum wage for local workers across all industries and sectors, a move which would significantly benefit workers in the tourism sector.
Tourism is the country’s biggest foreign exchange earning industry with close to 50,000 workers across more than 150 resorts, of which nearly 50 per cent are locals. The minimum wage decision, being enforced for the first time in the Maldives, would come into effect from January 2022.
“This is a very welcome move. It’s a good win for the tourism industry,” said Abdulla Ghiyas, past president of the Maldives Association of Travel & Tour Operators, who was among stakeholders including government agencies that decided on the move.
He said the government has worked with the respective stakeholders for the past 2.5 years on this scheme, which has been categorised into small, medium and large businesses.
Mauroof Zakir, general secretary of the Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives, a trade union, said the minimum wage for tourism workers has been set at 8,000 Maldivian rufiyaa – equivalent to US$519 – monthly.
“We had requested for US$600 but we are happy with this remarkable achievement,” he said, adding that the minimum wage for tourism workers will exclude service charge and overtime pay.
Zakir, who was also part of the negotiating team of stakeholders, said that although there will be a two-year moratorium on the implementation of the minimum wage for foreign employees, he hoped that resorts would also implement the scheme for their foreign staff from January.