In the private sector, the NRB sets minimum wages for nonmanagerial workers outside the EOE. The established minimum wages varied by sector. The government mandated the minimum wage rise each year based on the inflation rate. The minimum wage for an unskilled domestic worker in the EOE was approximately 607 rupees ($18) per week, while the minimum wage for an unskilled domestic factory worker outside the EOE was approximately 794 rupees ($24) per week. According to the National Empowerment Fund, the national poverty threshold was a household monthly income level of 6,200 rupees ($186).
By law employers cannot force a worker outside the EOE to work more than eight hours a day, six days a week. The standard legal workweek in the EOE is 45 hours. According to a local trade union, the Mauritius Labor Congress, 10 hours of overtime a week is nonetheless mandatory at certain textile factories in the EOE. Regulations require remuneration for those who work more than their stipulated hours at one and a half times the normal salary rate. Those who work during their stipulated hours on public holidays are remunerated at double their normal salary rate. The law provides for paid annual holidays but does not prohibit compulsory overtime in the EOE. For industrial positions, regulations do not permit workers to work more than 10 hours a day. The law requires the Ministry of Labor, Industrial Relations, and Employment to investigate cases of overtime violations. If an employer fails to take action to address the violations (for example, by paying wages owed or allowing 11-hour breaks), the ministry initiates a court action.
The Employment Rights Act and the Employment Relations Act cover the laws relating to acceptable conditions of work outside the EOE. These laws provide for a standard workweek and paid annual holidays, require premium pay for overtime, and prohibit compulsory overtime. A worker (other than a part-time worker or a watchperson) and an employer may agree, however, to have the employee work in excess of the stipulated hours without added remuneration, if the number of hours covered in a 14-day period does not exceed 90 hours or a lesser number of hours as agreed to by both parties.
The government sets occupational safety and health standards. By law workers can remove themselves from situations that endanger health or safety without jeopardy to their employment, and authorities effectively protected employees in these situations; however, workers did not always exercise this right.
Ministry of Labor, Industrial Relations, and Employment officials inspected working conditions. The ministry employed labor and industrial relations officers, including labor inspectors in the Migrant Labor Unit, to investigate all reports of labor abuses. Despite an increase in the number of inspectors in the Migrant Labor Unit, the number was insufficient to enforce compliance. Penalties were not always sufficient to deter violations. The ministry effectively enforced the minimum wage law in the formal sector. Authorities generally applied these standards to both foreign and citizen workers.
The actual market wage for most workers was much higher than the minimum wage due to a labor shortage and collective bargaining. There were reports, however, that employers did not always pay full-time employees in the cleaning industry the NRB-recommended minimum wage; some reportedly received only 1,500 rupees ($45) per month.
Unions reported cases of underpayment for overtime in the textile and apparel industries due to differences in existing legislation and remuneration orders for the calculation of overtime hours.
Employers did not always comply with safety regulations, resulting in occupational accidents. There were reports of foreign workers living in dormitories having unsanitary conditions.
There were two industrial accidents during the year that resulted in death. Major industrial accidents, which injured or killed workers, historically occurred mainly in the construction and manufacturing sectors.