Laos: Workers Struggle to Survive on Low Minimum Wage

The Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) has urged businesses to pay a higher minimum wage.

Vientiane Times reports that garment factories, in particular, were singled out by the LFTU, which said they must ensure wages are increased from the previous minimum of LAK 1,100,000 to the new minimum wage of LAK 1,500,000 this year.

If businesses fail to comply with the new wage regulation, the country could face a shortage of workers as Thailand reopens to migrant laborers.

Major inflation and an increased cost of living in Laos have affected low-wage employees the most.

The LFTU recommended an increase to the minimum wage earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare says more than 50 percent of migrant workers who returned to Laos during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic have already traveled to Thailand to seek work once more.

Workers from Laos can earn a higher salary in Thailand, where the minimum wage is approximately BHT 300 per day (LAK 105,000).