Working in the Maldives
Regarded as the smallest Asian country in terms of land area and population, Maldives is hugely dependent on its tourism sector to generate the economic activity of the country, followed by the fishing sector.
With an approximated labor force of 152,500 in 2010, more than half of the Maldivian population is working in the Services sector, measured at 65%. It is followed by the Industry sector at 17% and the Agriculture sector at 3%. Maldivian locals and foreign nationals who are seeking for employment can find opportunities in the major industries of Maldives which includes tourism, fish processing and shipping. Other industries that can also offer job positions are boat building, coconut processing, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining.
Since tourism plays a huge role in the economy of Maldives, English is widely spoken in the country, although the official language is Maldivian or Dhivehi. As such, foreign nationals will not have such a difficult time communicating with the locals. However, it is still best to learn a little of the Dhivehi language as such skills can come handy anytime while residing in Maldives.
Maldives has a government-mandated minimum wage currently set at 2,600 MVR (US$168) per month in the government sector.
The standard work week in Maldives is 48 hours per week or eight hours a day, Sundays to Thursdays. Friday and, to a lesser extent, Saturday, are the rest days for employees. All workers are entitled to nine public holidays, which includes Day of Commemoration of the Birth of Prophet Mohamed, Day of Commemoration of the Maldives converting to Islam, Independence Day, First Day of Ramadan, Day of Eid-Ul-Fitr, Victory Day, Republic Day, Hajj Day, and Day of Eid-Ul-Ad’ha. Meanwhile, paid annual leave and paid sick leave are given to all workers who have completed one year of employment – each having thirty days. Since the country’s main religion is Islam, several shops close during prayer time. This is common during Fridays, as well as Ramadan and Eid celebrations.
At present, Maldives does not impose income tax on salaries earned by all workers in the country. However, a bill is currently under committee discussions which if passed, will impose taxes on income based on a progressive scale – from 0% to 15%.
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