Labour & Human Resources

The Training Policy
Human resource development, in the public and private sectors, is a priority of the Government.

To improve the lifestyle of Papua New Guineans, access to training must be provided. They must have access to programmes where, if they take the initiative, with the support of their employer, they have the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of their families.

The National Training Council (NTC) is the Government organisation charged with administering the training policy. The NTC’s main task is to ensure that training is conducted in all sectors of industry. Part of its brief is to develop and promote high standards of training in Papua New Guinea, and to co-ordinate and distribute, among the private and public sectors, information and opportunities available in respect of training.

A major, long-term vocational training programme is being fine-tuned. It is a joint initiative of the Papua New Guinea Council of Manufacturers and the Australian Chamber of Manufacturers. The governments of both countries are supporting the project which is expected to be aid funded.

The majority of factory floor personnel in Papua New Guinea require further skills training.

The programme will address this by providing those people with opportunities for further tutoring in the form of specially-designed vocational training courses. Such courses will be offered within the country, rather than overseas, as trainees in their own environs are known to respond more positively to instruction and employers will be better able to monitor progress and offer encouragement during engagement.

Courses conducted will provide a limited amount of theory with a much greater emphasis on practical, hands-on training. Subjects will be specific rather than general, to facilitate concentration in detail on singular topics, in order to produce quality knowledge and more efficient production skills.

To promote training of citizens at all staffing levels, a training levy is applied to all businesses whose annual payroll exceeds K100,000. The levy, assessed on an annual basis, is calculated on the taxable salary and wages, including benefits, of all personnel. Expenses incurred in the training of citizen employees are deducted from the amount payable. Any business spending more than two per cent of its payroll on training citizens staff does not pay the levy.

Upskilling and Multiskilling

The NTC is directly responsible for co-ordinating training specifically for the upskilling and multiskilling of employees.

One of the main thrusts of the NTC is on-the-job upgrading of skills. It promotes and implements training programmes which are geared towards meeting the needs of industry. For instance, the trade testing and certification scheme is responsible for the constant upgrading of technical skills, to keep pace with technological changes.

The NTC is also responsible for securing formal and informal training overseas through various technical assistance programmes conducted by agencies such as AusAID and the CFTC. This training is secured for people already at work and those citizens who are still going through the education system.

Prohibited Occupations

The ongoing training of the local work force has resulted in a pool of available labour trained in many different fields of work. Investors should be aware that while certain professional, technical and managerial positions are open for foreign nationals to occupy, there is a list of occupations which can only be filled by Papua New Guineans. The most up to date list of occupations open to foreign nationals can be obtained from the Department of Industrial Relations.


There are unions and industrial organisations in Papua New Guinea. In the public sector, almost 100 per cent of the labour force is unionised through the Public Employees Association (PEA) and other occupational-based unions like teachers, police and nurses associations.

In the private sector, unions are organised on an enterprise level. Unions in the strategic sectors of mining, transport, waterside, communications, and so on, are better-organised because of the stability in membership. The workforce in some other sectors, such as agriculture, which is rural based, remains disunited.


Wages in Papua New Guinea are set by a Government body known as the Minimum Wages Board. The wage setting process in Papua New Guinea has experienced reform and change in recent years. In 1992, the Board abolished the method of setting wages which involved the automatic indexation of the minimum wage according to the movement of the Consumer Price Index. The Board set a legal minimum rate of K22.96 per week (for unskilled adult workers) and introduced a minimum wage for youths aged 16 to 21 years. Youths were given special attention in order to address unemployment.

The Board also determined that wages and improvements in employment conditions were to be determined through collective bargaining or free negotiations between the labour force or representative unions and employers or through representative organisations.

Anything above the minimum wage level is subject to negotiation between employer and employee and/or their respective industrial organisation based on productivity at an industrial level and capacity to pay by employers.

The National Minimum Wage applies irrespective of location of employment.

Both classifications of the National Minimum Wage and the Youth Minimum Wage applied to all new entrants to the work force from the date of operation of the determination.

Employees in employment at the time of the change were not to be affected by the 1992 minimum wages policy.

There are award rates of pay for certain skills. Up to date information about the rates of pay can be obtained from the Department of Industrial Relations or by contacting the Investment Promotion Authority.