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Minimum wage violation in South Africa

Listed author(s):
  • Haroon BHORAT
  • Ravi KANBUR
  • Natasha MAYET

Minimum wage legislation is central in South African policy discourse, with both strong support and strong opposition. The validity of either position depends, however, on the effectiveness of minimum wage enforcement. Using detailed matching of occupational, sectoral and locational codes in the 2007 Labour Force Survey to the gazetted minimum wages, this paper presents, we believe for the first time, estimates of minimum wage violation in South Africa. Our results give considerable cause for concern. Minimum wage violation is South Africa is disturbingly high. We find that 45% of covered workers get paid wages below the legislated minimum, whilst the average depth of shortfall is 36% of the minimum wage. Around this average, violation is most prevalent in the Security, Forestry and Farming Sectors. We hope that the quantifications in this paper will provide a more solid basis for discussion of minimum wage levels and their enforcement in South Africa.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1564-913X.2012.00149.x
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Article provided by International Labour Organization in its journal International Labour Review.

Volume (Year): 151 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 277-287

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Handle: RePEc:bla:intlab:v:151:y:2012:i:3:p:277-287
DOI: j.1564-913X.2012.00149.x
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  1. William Maloney & Jairo Mendez, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America," NBER Chapters,in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 109-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lucas Ronconi, 2010. "Enforcement and Compliance with Labor Regulations in Argentina," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 719-736, July.
  3. Lemos, Sara, 2009. "Minimum wage effects in a developing country," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 224-237, April.
  4. Haroon Bhorat & Ravi Kanbur & Natasha Mayet, 2012. "Estimating the Causal Effect of Enforcement on Minimum Wage Compliance: The Case of S outh A frica," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 608-623, November.
  5. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
  6. Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2003. "Minimum Wages and Compliance: The Case of Trinidad and Tobago," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 427-450, January.
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