From June 1, the minimum wage in Vanuatu will be increased by 36 percent from $US1.82 (VT220) an hour to $US2.48 (VT300).
"Employers must not pay their workers less than this rate for hours worked," the Vanuatu Daily Post reported.
"The minimum wage was increased from VT200 per hour to VT220 per hour in 2019. Under law, minimum wage rate should be reviewed once every two years based on economic factors. The last one was four years ago."
But VCCI president Antoine Boudier said they are deeply concerned about how this decision has come about without any private sector consultation.
Boudier said it leaves inadequate time to prepare for its implementation and he is calling on the government to "let common sense prevail" and not proceed with gazetting of the Order.
He warns that an increase in the minimum wage will not translate to an increase in buying power for Vanuatu citizens.
"The VCCI has attempted to work cooperatively in good faith with the Vanuatu government, including the Department of Labour, to ensure a balanced approach to any increase to Vanuatu's minimum wage so that will not adversely affect Vanuatu's economy and compound cost-of-living pressures," Boudier said.
"We are deeply concerned about how this decision has come about without any private sector consultation and leaving inadequate time to prepare for its implementation and call on the Government to not proceed with gazetting of the Order. "
In statement , the Chamber said it had also reached out to the labour department "to urgently provide legal advice and practical guidelines on how the private sector is to effectively implement the imminent changes."
However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs acting director general Leith Veremaito said increasing the minimum wage was "overdue".
The government said it could not increase the minimum wage two years ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Internal Affairs Minister Rick Tchamako Mahe said "it is important to raise minimum wage also to reduce brain drain, the number of workers leaving to work abroad."
Minimum wage in other Pacific nations
- Fiji $F4 per hour - $US1.77
- Samoa $WST3 per hour - $US1.08
- Solomon Islands $SBD8 per hour - $US0.95c (was doubled in 2019 from $SBD4 to $SBD8)
- Papua New Guinea $K3.50 per hour - $US 0.98c
- New Caledonia Hourly Wage: $XPF825.68 - $US7.42
- French Polynesia $XPF1014 - $US9.11