Employment in Myanmar
Employment in Myanmar

Myanmar has been experiencing a rapid growth since it opened up in the 2000s with its GDP growth rate among the highest in Asia. Since 2011, the government has initiated economic reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment and reintegration into the global economy. 

The country’s abundant natural resources and young workforce have the potential to attract foreign investment in various sectors like energy, garment, information technology and food and beverage sectors.

General Information

Currency: Myanmar Kyat (MMK) 1 K = 0.00077 USD

Economic Capital: Yangon

Spoken Language: Burmese, English

GDP: 2.9% growth rate (2019) (Source: World Bank)

Time Zone: UTC (+ 06:30)

Entitlements in Myanmar

Minimum Wage: Minimum wage is MMK 4800 per day for all organisations. The minimum wage is to be revised every 2 years. 

Working Hours: 48 hours/week or 8 hours/day and a maximum of 12 hours/week of overtime work.

As per labour laws, at least 1 day per week shall be granted as a paid rest day.  Usually, Sundays are the designated rest days. Due to the nature of employment or nature of the employer’s operations, the employer and employee may mutually agree on any other day of the week to be the rest day.

Payroll Cycle: Salaries are to be paid at the end of the month or, depending on the size of the employing enterprise, between 5 to 10 days before the end of the month.

Pay Date: It has to be made on a working day.

pay-date-myanmar

Overtime Compensation: Should the employer require the employee to work on their designated rest day, he or she shall enjoy an alternative day of rest (and may be entitled to overtime pay depending on the terms of the contract). 

  • Overtime compensation would be decided upon mutual agreement between the employer and employee. 
  • If an employee is required to work overtime, he or she is entitled to overtime pay at double the basic salary. 
  • Overtime is usually limited to a maximum of 12 hours per week, or up to 16 hours in special cases.

Leaves

On an average, there are 25 public holidays per year:

list-of-public-leaves-myanmar

Public holidays: Workers who work on a public holiday are paid at double the normal rate plus a cost of living allowance. Public holidays that fall on a rest day or other holiday may not be taken on another day. Religious holidays for non-Buddhists may be taken based on agreement between employer and workers.

Casual leave: All employees are entitled to 6 days of annual paid casual leave. They may not be carried forward to the subsequent year and may not be utilised for more than 3 consecutive days at a time, except in the case of religious or compulsory events (eg. weddings, funerals).

Earned leave: It may be enjoyed for a minimum of 10 days consecutively or separately per year of employment, provided the employee has completed 12 consecutive months of service with a minimum of 20 working days per month. For each month with less than the minimum of 20 full days of work, 1 day may be deducted from the minimum earned leave entitlement. It may be carried forward and can be accumulated up to 3 years, unless otherwise agreed between employer and employee. 

Maternity leave: Expectant mothers are provided 6 weeks of prenatal leave and 8 weeks of postnatal leave, for a total of 14 weeks of maternity leave. Additional 4 weeks will be given in case of twins. Up to 6 weeks of leave will be given in the event of a miscarriage.

Sick leave: Employees are entitled to 30 days of paid medical leave per year, provided that they have completed 6 months of service. Employees covered by the Social Security Law are entitled for additional leave in case of certain work injuries apart from the 30 days of paid medical leave.

Paternity Leave: Employees are entitled 15 days off at full salary.

Marriage Leave: Employees are entitled to paid marriage leave according to the relevant Wage Regulation Order (WRO).  Employees working in organisations which are not regulated by (WRO) are allowed 2 working days of marriage leave. 

Adoption Leave: An employee is eligible for up to 8 weeks of paid childcare leave under the Social Security Law when adopting a child under 1 year of age.

Childcare leave: There is no specific provision for carers’ rights. If emergency care is required for dependants, an employee can use their medical leave or casual leave or annual leave entitlements.

Death leave: In the event of death of a parent or family member, the employee shall be allowed to utilise annual leave or casual leave, and if all annual and casual leave have been exhausted, the employee can take unpaid leave. No additional days of leave are provided as funeral leave.

Work-Related Injury Leave: There is no separate leave if an employee gets injured at work. This gets covered as part of the medical leave. 

Taxes in Myanmar

Tax year: The tax year is from 1 October to 30 September for all entities. The income tax must be filed within 3 months from the end of the fiscal year. Tax returns for capital gains must be filed within 1 month from the date of disposal of the capital assets. Advance payments must be made quarterly for corporate income tax. 

Personal Income Tax –

Residents: Locals and resident foreigners (staying in Myanmar for a period of 183 days or more during any year of assessment) are taxed.

taxation-in-myanmar

Corporate taxation: A business on the promoted sectors list can receive a corporate income tax holiday for between 3 to 7 years depending on where the investment is located.

corporate-taxes
  • All businesses can get duty free imports of raw materials and equipment when expanding. 
  • A 2% advance corporate income tax is levied on the import and export of goods.
  • There is no surtax; no alternative minimum tax; no separate capital gains tax.
  • There is a one-tier corporate tax system, under which dividends received from a Myanmar resident company are exempted from income tax in the hands of shareholders.
  • A minimum of USD300,000 investment is required to benefit from the tax incentives. 
  • A company reinvesting its profits is eligible for relief from corporate income tax. 
  • A deduction of research and development expenses is permitted.

Commercial tax and specific goods tax: There is no VAT or value added tax, but a commercial tax is levied on goods and services. A specific goods tax (SGT) is imposed on specific goods. The commercial tax rate generally is 5% and is payable on services, imports, exports and goods manufactured within the country. The SGT rates range between 5% to 120%.

Employee Statutory Benefits 

Social protection: Social Security Fund is compulsory for employers of 5 or more employees unless exempted under the law. Employers must pay social security monthly, before the 15th of the month, following the salary payment. Employers must withhold employees’ social security contributions from the salaries. Total rate of contribution is 5% of wages (including all recurring allowances and benefits), 3% and 2% of which are contributed by the employer and the employee respectively.

Employment Insurance System: Ferry to and from workplace and travel, meal and accommodation arrangements and training for any kind of skills development depends on mutual agreement between the employer and employee.

Employee Voluntary Benefits

Bonus: At employer’s discretion.

Additional: Different types of allowances for housing, transport etc. is at employer’s discretion.

Retirals

Retirement Age: An employee should be 60 years old to get eligible for pension. In certain cases, the pension can begin before that as well but the criterions need to be fulfilled.

Pension: An employee gets eligible for a pension if he/she is of the age 60 with at least 180 months of contributions. Pension is also given in three other cases – a disability pension, partial pension and survivor pension.

  • Disability Pension – The employee must be assessed as incapable of any work and have at least 180 months of contributions.
  • Partial Pension – In this at least 12 months but less than 180 months of contributions is required, 40% of total employee and employer contributions plus accrued interest is paid; with less than 12 months of contributions, a lump sum of total employee contributions is paid.
  • Survivor Pension – It is given to the dependent widow(er), children and parents of the deceased. It is assessed if the deceased received or was entitled to receive an old-age or disability pension at the time of death.

Employee Provident Fund: Some companies voluntarily provide this benefit to employees. The provident fund is available to all permanent employees. It allows employees to contribute at least 3% of their income (as decided in official contract) into the fund and it is released on the date of the individual’s retirement.

Termination

Notice Period: 1 month

Probation Period: The probation period cannot exceed 3 months. The employees can work without any probation period also. 

Severance Pay: Employees terminated by notice or with payment in lieu of notice shall be entitled to severance payment, which is as follows:

severance-pay-duration-wise-in-myanmar

Office Setup in Myanmar 

Types of Business: Sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited companies, franchises, joint ventures or wholly foreign-owned subsidiaries, acquiring shares in a Myanmar incorporated company, representative office and branch office.

Co-working Cost: There are several co-working spaces which are vibrant and eco-friendly, with excellent internet service, air conditioning, having relax zones and office equipment like printers, photocopiers etc. at different places in Yagon and Mandalay. These places can be booked for a day, a week or a month.

Visa: To work in Myanmar, foreign workers need to get a 70-day single-entry business visa. This costs USD50. Foreign employees who have obtained at least two 70-day single-entry business visas can apply for a multiple-entry visa (which is valid for 3 [costs USD 200] or 6 months [costs USD 400] or 1 year [costs USD 600]). Foreign Registration Certificate should be obtained by foreign nationals who wish to reside and work in Myanmar continuously for more than 90 days.

 

Sources: Britannica, World Bank, Myanmar government website, Asian Development Bank, IMF, Reuters, Coworker, Deloitte 

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