Roundtable Discussions

Minimum Wage in Egypt: Striking a Balance Between Productivity and Social Equity

Date : 2/28/2012

Speakers : Magda Kandil (ECES) and Omneia Helmy (ECES), Safwat El-Nahass (Central Agency for Organization & Administration), Patrick Belser (ILO)

The issue of social justice has taken center stage post the January 25 revolution, where many have argued for the need to establish a minimum wage policy that protects real income from deterioration. Overtime, the minimum wage policy has failed to balance the objectives of employment creation and securing a dignified standard of living for many in Egypt. In the absence of such a coherent approach, increasing the minimum wage could increase unemployment and informality, and heighten inflationary pressures if sectoral and regional disparities were not taken into consideration.

This roundtable discussion analyzed aspects of disparity in wage distribution across sectors and regions, based on productivity and cost of living. Subsequently, the roundtable drew on international experience to offer suggestions that could aid the formulation of a minimum wage policy that achieves social justice, taking into account productivity, employment, industrial policy dynamics and investment across sectors and regions.