ECONOMIST Dr Mahendra Reddy has clarified that the national minimum wage of 2008 should not be compared with the proposed minimum wage rate of $2.32.
The Fiji National University academic said the in-depth national minimum wage rate survey reiterated the new minimum wage rate was for an individual poverty line income.
"One thing that I wish to clarify is that some unions have said that this wage rate of $2.32 amounts to $104 for a 45-hour week which is below the 2008 minimum wage rate of $106," he said.
"But my question to them is why are they using a four-member household poverty line income to compare with an individual's weekly income?
"A four-member household is an adult equivalent, so if a four-member household is earning $104 each that will be more than $400 per week.
"So, it's basically erroneous and incorrect to use a four-member adult equivalent poverty line income to compare with an individual's wage rate and say we are offering a wage rate that is below the poverty line income."
Dr Reddy said the proposed minimum wage had been projected to be good news for workers in the lowest paying jobs.
"It is very good news for the informal sector.
"These are the ones working in the informal sector, the agriculture sector, the car wash boys, the backyard garage workers, the housemaids, the cleaners.
"These are workers who are not covered in the existing wage regulation orders," Dr Reddy said.