The law provides for the government to set a minimum wage, but the Department of Labor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Environment, Trade, Labor, and Tourism had not done so. The minimum annual salary in the public sector was AUD 5,266 ($4,018). No recent poverty-level income figure was available. Private-sector wages were reportedly somewhat lower than the minimum public-sector wage rate.
The law sets the workday at eight hours, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Environment, Trade, Labor, and Tourism may specify the days and hours of work for workers in various industries. Government employees were entitled to paid annual holidays. Although there is provision in the law for premium pay and overtime work, there are no established premium overtime rates or maximum hours of work. The law provides for rudimentary health and safety standards and requires employers to provide adequate potable water, basic sanitary facilities, and medical care. Workers can remove themselves from situations that endanger health or safety without jeopardy to their employment, and authorities effectively protected employees in this situation.
Enforcement of standards in all sectors, including the informal economy, was inconsistent. By law penalties for violations of laws related to acceptable conditions of work could be liable to a maximum fine of AUD 100 ($79) depending on the violation, or imprisonment for a maximum of six months if the person failed to pay an imposed fine. These penalties were adequate to deter violations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Environment, Trade, Labor, and Tourism is responsible for the enforcement of wage, hour, health, and safety regulations, but the ministry did not have sufficient resources to formally and regularly conduct inspections of the laws’ application. The Department of Labor had two officers, which was not sufficient to enforce compliance. The labor officers relied on information from the community and conducted inspections when the office received complaints.
Approximately 75 percent of the working-age population lacked permanent employment and worked in the informal and subsistence economy. There was no system for reporting and publishing workplace injuries or deaths.