THE proposed national minimum wage of $2.32 an hour will be increased in 2015.
Speaking at the recent National Minimum Wage roadshow in Lautoka, Commerce Commission chairman Dr Mahendra Reddy said the proposed minimum wage would be increased to $2.55 an hour.
"The survey recommends that we adopt a national minimum wage of $2.55 but implement in the first stage $2.32 per hour starting from January 1, 2014 and then in January, 2015 increase it to $2.55 an hour," Dr Reddy said.
"The idea of the national minimum wage is to protect the vulnerable workers or those who will be entering the labour market unskilled or semi-skilled.
"This is for those who do not have any negotiating rights or counter veiling power to determine what they should get.
"They don't have anything, their CV is empty. This is the vulnerable that the government is trying to protect."
Dr Reddy said the protection of low-income earners stemmed from an imperfect labour market.
"When I say imperfect labour market, I mean this category of workers who are unskilled or semi-skilled, they're found in large numbers in a small country like Fiji."
Dr Reddy said some employers had been taking advantage of the unbalanced labour market.
"There would be a possibility these workers will have employers that will offer them a wage rate that is way below a wage rate that will allow them to have a decent living standard."