BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei will introduce a new minimum wage policy across all industries in the private sector, His Majesty announced on Saturday.

In his customary address to mark his 77th birthday, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah said the move was “a step towards strengthening the lives and well-being of the people”, and urged the business sector to support the new policy.

Minimum wage policy will be implemented in two phases and will apply to both local and foreign workers, whether they are working full-time or part-time.

The first phase will cover the banking and finance sector and the ICT sector, while minimum wage for other sectors will be announced at a later date, the Labour Department said in a statement issued to media.

Full-time workers in banking, finance and ICT are entitled to a minimum salary of $500 per month, while part-time workers are entitled to at least $2.62 per hour.

The minimum wage will apply before any contributions to retirement accounts such as TAP, SCP and SPK.

The Labour Department said employers will be given a 6-month transitional period to update workers’ contracts if necessary. For workers whose salary falls below the minimum threshold, employers must update their contracts to reflect the minimum wage rate and have them re-sign the new terms.

The department said new laws to enact minimum wage came into effect on July 12, 2023, through the Employment (Minimum Wage) Order 2023, which is an addendum to the Employment Order 2009.

“[The new laws are] intended to set a reasonable basic salary to meet employees’ subsistence needs, protect workers from excessively low wages, motivate local workers, and stimulate socioeconomic growth,” the department said.

Employers who do not comply with the new directive can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $3,000.

Minimum wage laws will not apply to employees in the government sector, where wages are traditionally higher, apprentices, and foreign workers holding a Professional Visit Visa (PVV) or employed through a Special Authorisation Work Pass (SAWP).