Liberia: Rufus Neufville Wants Minimum Wage Law Enforced in Private Sector


MONROVIA – The Executive Director of a nonprofit democracy group under the banner People Action Network, Amb. Rufus Neufville, is calling for the minimum wage of US$150 to be extended to the private sector.

In a release issued in Monrovia, Neufville is quoted as saying that many workers in the private sector still earn below the minimum wage of US$150.

The People Action Network Executive Director stated that once the government is increasing all Civil Servants’ salaries to at least US$150, the government must also ensure that the private sector adheres to such a good policy.

Neufville alleged that several business owners are in the constant habit of paying their employees far less than US$150 monthly, something he said is totally unacceptable.

He further revealed that businesses also dismiss employees without regard to labor laws & practices. 

Neufville is credited for advocating for civil servants’ wages increment during his time at the legislature in 2009.

He wants the committee on Labor to be more proactive in its oversight to ensure that Liberians receive just pay for work performed.

The Executive Director’s advocacy comes hours after President Weah delivered his State of the Nation Address announcing the increment in salaries of 15,000 civil servants.

Recently President George Weah at his SONA at the national Legislature admitted that his administration is ‘paying some public sector workers wages’ that are far below the country’s minimum wage standard.

Weah’s admission comes as a surprise, given that he had not addressed such an issue until now when he is running for re-election. 

The numbers of people affected, according to the president, amount to some 15,000 government employees whose monthly salary remains below the country’s minimum wage of US$150 dollars.

Weah however sought to reframe the narrative, claiming that he had not been aware of the issue throughout his nearly six years in office while announcing a solution. 

“As domestic revenue improves, we remain committed to enhancing the welfare of Government workers. I have been informed that some 15,000 Government workers still make below the minimum wage of US$150 dollars, as mandated by the Decent Work Act,” the Liberian leader said while addressing the nation on January 30.

“This is completely unacceptable. No Government worker should make below the minimum wage mandated by public law. I have therefore directed that, as part of the 2023 budget, the wages for all such workers be raised at or above the minimum wage. I am informed that the cost to achieve this is estimated at US$6 million annually.”

The president noted that despite the issue, his administration had rectified the nation’s flawed and unjust wage structure, which compensated public employees without any clear norms or pay grades for years, saying that the fix saw 15,000 civil servants receiving higher salaries, while some 7,000 paid were adjusted downward.

According to section 16.1 of the Decent Work Act, every Liberian working in both private and public institutions is entitled to a minimum wage of US$0.68 per hour or US$5.50 per day.