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Q: Report claims Australia has second highest minimum wage! Who has highest then?? ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Report claims Australia has second highest minimum wage! Who has highest then??
Category: Business and Money > Employment
Asked by: johnfrommelbourne-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 16 Nov 2006 06:39 PST
Expires: 21 Nov 2006 06:25 PST
Question ID: 783220
The federal government recently quoted an OECD report( or UN report, I
forget which)claiming that Australia has the  world's second highest
MINIMUM wage. This was in response to union movement arguing for
another rise to minimum standards, ( which they got in the form of an
additional $27). Given that we once had the highest minimum wage, one
country has obviously gone ahead of us in recent times, but which
 I would be happy if the GA accredited answerer was able to produce a 
short list showing  minimum  wages as appropriately measured and
compared to one another from country to country( however that is done)
for top few countries  on list at least, or otherwise answer the
question with at least some figures.

 I did do a little bit of reckoning myself in small way looking at USA
and Australia, as USA wages are always being quoted over here so was
the only one I knew off the cuff. In this instance with minimum
standard in USA being $US5.15 per hour and Australia now being
$AU13.47 it is easy to see that USA is not "the one" that has trumped
us in recent past. In  any comparison here we could use the simple
internationl conversion rate of US77cents for every Australian dollar
which would show that the USA  minimum rate of $US5.15 per hour
equates to  app. $AU6.68 per hour ,  OR, using the more economically
correct PPP ( Purchasing Power Parity) index as used by the OECD to do
such comparisons, which is  currently around 78cents, a very similar

  Can anyone shed some light?? I  was arguing with someone on this
point and I suspect that the title to the WORLD'S HIGHEST MINIMUM WAGE
 is probably a contest  between SWITZERLAND, LUXEMBOURG, SWEDEN,
NORWAY, AUSTRIA and LEICHTENSTEIN but would really like to know for
sure, and perhaps just how is such comparioson made.

 John From melbourne

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 16 Nov 2006 08:40 PST
As you have discovered there is no simple answer to your question. The
problem with supplying you with an answer revolves mainly around the
conversion to one specific currency. To further complicate matters,
some nations gauge their minimum wages not by hourly salary but by
monthly or annual income. Others rate their minimum wages based on the
earnings for a traditional workweek (the many variations include a 40
h/week; 45 h/week; 35 h/week; 39 h/week; 36 h/week; 48 h/week; 36
h/week; 37 h/week and so on). This inconsistency makes the
calculation especially difficult given the necessary conversions on
TODAY?s market. The figures are known but to translate these local
earnings into one specific currency say, on an hourly basis, would
require an extraordinary amount of compilation time and careful
mathematical analysis.

On the other hand, you may like to do this in your leisure to come up
with the answer to your question. If you like I can provide you with
the data. In order to find out which countries have the highest
minimum wages you could go to this minimum wage database. Search ?all
countries? and under the SUBJECT category select ?level?. This will
return a list of all countries, each of which will have a link
explaining that nation?s current minimum wage in local currency
denominations and in most cases US dollar conversion.


Short of an actual current list please let me know if this database
works for you as an answer.


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 16 Nov 2006 15:00 PST
According to this UN report (see graphs on page 12):

Australia ranks only behind France in terms of minimum wage levels.

However, the ranking is not by absolute dollars or PPP, but rather, by
minimum wage as a percent of the median wage in the country.

Still, this may well be the report that that government citation was referring to.

Let us know your thoughts on all this.


Clarification of Question by johnfrommelbourne-ga on 17 Nov 2006 05:07 PST
Tutuzdad and Pafalafa,

 Gee I am sorry to send you on a quest for something that does not
really have an easily definable answer. I really thought there would
be some simplistic listing worked out by the UN or the OECD. I know
you both spent some time at it so I will compensate by directing my
next question at each of you alternatively, by name. Is this OK with
you??? It will be  an easier one of course!!

 Thanks again,

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 17 Nov 2006 06:31 PST
Whatveer you'd like to do is agreeable to me. 

Thank you

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 17 Nov 2006 08:09 PST

You are a long-standing presence here at GA, and I know there will be
many other opportunities down the road to work on some of your
questions and collect some of your money.  As tutu said, do whatever
feels right for you, but from my perspective there's really no need to
post a mock question to my attention.


There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Report claims Australia has second highest minimum wage! Who has highest the
From: politicalguru-ga on 16 Nov 2006 08:52 PST
Dear John, 

I couldn't find a good list, one that would have all countries which
have minimum wage laws and then calculate such issues as the stadard
of living, or PPP. However, I could find a list of European countries
with the monthly minimum wage. According to my calculations, your
wages equal approximately 1392.9 EUR a month. Indeed, Luxembourg is on
the top, with 1,541 EUR a month for unskilled workers (which is
2,582.83 AUD).

See the list here: 
FedEE review of minimum wage rates 

Conclusion: It is better to be an unskilled Luxembourgian, than a
very-skilled Russian.
Subject: Re: Report claims Australia has second highest minimum wage! Who has highest the
From: myoarin-ga on 16 Nov 2006 13:42 PST
G'day John,
As Tutuzdad has mentioned, the relative exchange rates could play a role.
If the Aussie dollar has declined in value relative to the Euro, this
alone could explain the slip to second place of your minimum wage.

Cheers, Myoarin
Subject: Re: Report claims Australia has second highest minimum wage! Who has highest then??
From: mvguy-ga on 17 Nov 2006 10:16 PST
Something else to keep in mind is that in the United States the
minimum wage varies from state to state; many have minimums that are
higher than the federal wage, a few around $2/hour higher than the
federal requirement.

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