What is at issue in the minimum wage debate?

20th January 2015 By: Econ3x3

What is at issue in the minimum wage debate?

The debate about implementing a national minimum wage obscures the key point, which is the level at which a national minimum wage should be set. A national minimum wage at a much higher level than the sectoral minimum wages currently set by the Employment Conditions Commission or agreed upon by unions under the Labour Relations Act is likely to result in job destruction, especially in the tradable sectors, with the result that poverty might be increased rather than reduced.

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Written by Jeremy Seekings, Professor of Political Studies and Sociology, University of Cape Town; and Nicoli Nattrass, Professor of Economics, University of Cape Town

This article was first published on the Econ3x3 website – Accessible policy-relevant research and expert commentaries on unemployment and employment, income distribution and inclusive growth in South Africa.