What is a balanced and evidence-based approach?

Caveats and limitations

When comparing the minimum to average wage ratio, it is important to compare the monthly minimum wage for normal hours with full-time (or full-time equivalent) workers.

Average wage data for all employees tends to be lower than that for full-time or full-time equivalent employees since there is variation in hours worked in the former. The difference will depend on the percentage of employees who work less than full time.

Also, the minimum to average wage ratio should be interpreted with care. For example, in some sectors, the average wage may be very close to the minimum wage in industries where minimum wage-type work predominates. This is the case in Cambodia, where the minimum wage is exclusively set for the textile industry and where, with the exception of a few managers, the majority of workers earn the minimum wage. Under these circumstances, the minimum wage actually sets the average wage in the sector.

In all circumstances, the minimum to average wage ratio requires additional analysis. In emerging and developing economies, where employees represent a smaller share of total employment and the informal economy is usually larger, there may be a disconnect between the average wage of employees who would be legally covered by the minimum wage and the average wage of all employees.