Who We Are
CSID in the School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of Witwatersrand has launched the National Minimum Wage Research Intiative. This research project explores: the issue of minimum wages and employment; provides detailed case study evidence; offers relevant statistical analysis; undertakes two statistical modelling exercises to determine the impact of a statutory national minimum wage on variables such as investment, output, growth, poverty, employment, and inequality in South Africa; and provides policy analysis based on international best practice. The project also provides relevant information to non-experts including: the media, members of community groups, NGOs and trade unions, business people, policy makers, academics, and all other interested parties.
Articles in Business Day and Times inaccurately quoted Gilad Isaacs as having “suggested a minimum wage of R4,500-R5,500 a month”. The report highlights three internationally-established benchmarks – basic needs, ratios to average wages and current collective bargaining agreements – as well as outcomes from the statistical modelling exercises. The report concludes:
“[G]iven that the relevant international benchmarks cluster between R4 000 and R5 500, a national minimum wage could significantly increase wages for South Africa’s lowest earners, benefiting them and their families. In addition, such national minimum wage levels are predicted to reduce inequality. Our statistical modelling indicates that a national minimum wage beginning between R3 500 and R4 600 and reaching up to between R3 900 and R5 100 after five years is feasible.”
|Policy Brief 5: Incentives to enhance compliance with a national minimum wage in South Africa In: 2016.|
|Policy Brief 4: National Minimum Wage Coverage for Workers in Learning Programmes In: 2016.|
|Policy Brief 3: Exclusion and Exemptions from a National Minimum Wage System In: 2016.|
|Policy Brief 2: Defining the Reference Period and Premium Payments for a National Minimum Wage In: 2016.|
|Policy Brief 1: The Building Blocks of a National Minimum Wage for South Africa In: National Minimum Wage Research Initiative Working Paper, (2), 2015.|
On the 2nd and 3rd of February 2016 we hosted a highly successful Symposium. All presentations, videos and photographs can be found on the Symposium page.
Media Coverage of Symposium
|SAFM Workers On Wednesday: National Minimum Wage 2016.|
|The debate on national minimum wages in South Africa 2016.|
|RADIO 786 | IMPLEMENTING A NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE In: 2016.|
|Ramaphosa clarifies privatisation, minimum wage 2016.|
|Current median in SA should be considered In: 2016.|
|Minimum wage ‘requires maximum coverage’ GERNETZKY, KARL (Ed.): 2016.|
|Call for minimum wage for foreigners In: 2016.|
|Minimum wage debate 'a political issue' 2016.|
|Cosatu: Workers should expect news on minimum wage 2016.|
|Looking at the effectiveness of a minimum wage Mgabadeli, Siki (Ed.): 2016.|
|Minimum wage 'will boost GDP' In: 2016.|
|Academics in favour of minimum wages Nkabinde, Sungula (Ed.): 2016.|
Recently Added Publications
Sound wage-setting institutions should also address rising inequalities, including those between men and women, by promoting the right to equal remuneration for work of equal value.
Minimum wages are used by governments and social partners to provide protection for wage earners against unduly low wages and as one element in a policy designed to overcome poverty.
The issues is not so much should you have a minimum wage or not. We don’t hear that debate at all very much in the ILO anymore, but [it’s] really about how the minimum wage should be operated.
[R]ather than disturbing the market system and threatening to prevent it from functioning optimally, rigid nominal wages resulting from trade union wages policy or statutory minimum wages are in actual fact considered to be a requirement for the functioning of capitalist monetary economies.
[I]nternational experience… demonstrates that a national minimum wage can work. It can protect low-paid workers without adverse employment effects and I think it’s an experience worth considering for South Africa as well.
[T]he polarization of income distribution and the decline in the wage share [plays] an important role in the generation of unbalanced and unequal growth.
Several government policies can directly compress wage dispersion from below. Statutory minimum wages can play an important role. In most countries statutory minimum wages are between 40 and 60 per cent of median (or if not available average) wages. Minimum wages below 40 per cent of median wages must be considered unexceptionally low.
Evidence from a large sample of countries suggests that de facto labor market regulations (such as minimum wages, unionization, and social security contributions), on average, tend to improve the income distribution.