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Findings from the National Minimum Wage Research Initiative

Date Released: Wed, 22 February 2017 13:32 +0200

Gilad Isaacs and Michael Rogan

Gilad Isaacs delivered a seminar entitled Findings from the National Minimum Wage Research Initiative on 22 February 2017 as part of the Labour Studies Seminar Series. The series is jointly co-ordinated by the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) and the Departments of Sociology, History, and Economics and Economic History.

Gilad Isaacs is the coordinator of the National Minimum Wage Research Initiative at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a researcher at CSID, in the School of Economic and Business Science, working on the European Union's Fessud Project. He holds a MA in Political Economy from New York University and a MSc in Economics from SOAS, University of London, where he is currently completing his PhD. Gilad has a background in political activism and research interests in finance, macroeconomic policy, labour markets and the mineral sector.

Presentation Summary

Low wages are a key reason for South Africa's high levels of poverty and inequality but recent moves towards a national minimum wage have generated a storm. Employers claim this will lead to job losses. Unions dismiss a recent agreement on a R20 hourly minimum as "ridiculous." What are the facts? This presentation draws on wide-ranging research by the National Minimum Wage Research Initiative. It explores the debates, the record of minimum wages elsewhere, the potential impact of a national minimum wage in South Africa, and key policy considerations.

The presentation draws from two reports:

A National Minimum Wage for South Africa by Gilad Isaacs summarises the international and labour market analyses undertaken by the Initiative. It is a comprehensive review as to what the impact of a national minimum wage in South Africa may be. It interrogates the international evidence and presents statistical modelling specifically undertaken for South Africa. It also discusses potential levels for the national minimum wage in South Africa. Link: http://nationalminimumwage.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/NMW-RI-Research-Summary-Web-Final.pdf

And

Policy Considerations for the Design and Implementation of a Minimum Wage for South Africa by Ruth Castel-Branco synthesises the seven policy briefs and one policy-orientated working paper undertaken by the Initiative. It picks up on crucial policy questions about how a minimum wage should be set, designed, and enforced. It draws from both international case studies as well as local wage-setting mechanisms. This report raises questions essential to the future design of a national minimum wage in South Africa. Link:
http://nationalminimumwage.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/NMW-RI-Policy-Summary-Web-Final.pdf

Source:Gilad Isaacs