July 4, 2007

Minimum Wage An Elusive Promise

South Africa introduced its first-ever minimum wage July 1 in a bid to improve the state of its hospitality industry, and public image, ahead of its turn as World Cup host in 2010.

Currently, most restaurants employ “casual workers” who often earn nothing more than tips.

BuaNews — a government agency — said the move was to “avoid being embarrassed before international visitors,” and that improved working conditions would be a boon for he whole industry.

But even having a minimum wage law on the books doesn’t mean it will be enforced.

In the United States, a study has found that thousands of New York City service-industry workers aren’t earning minimum wage or overtime pay, although the law requires it.

And an effort to overturn a federal labor law that views home-care health workers as equivalent to babysitters was turned back by the Supreme Court in a 9-0 ruling.

The judges said that either Congress or the Labor Department would have to take up the issue at the legislative level.

The suit was originally brought by 73-year-old Evelyn Coke, a health care worker was privately employed for 20 years in home care.

The city and the home-care industry opposed her plea, claiming it would cause health care expenses to rise.

Sources:

“South Africa: Hospitality industries to benefit from new wage law”
BuaNews (South Africa), June 29, 2007

“Minimum-wage appeal denied”
Los Angeles Times/Associated Press, June 12, 2007

“Low-wage work can be nasty, brutish, ignored”
CityLimits.org, June 25, 2007

3 thoughts on “Minimum Wage An Elusive Promise

  1. Aha! Give the NYC service workers jobs as enforcement officers for the tourist camera ban by the NYC film board…problem solved!

  2. Is it legal for an employer to pay $5.15 per hour stating that the employee also gets tips?