Proposed ¥14 hike to put minimum wage above welfare in most areas

Kyodo

A government panel proposed Tuesday raising the average hourly minimum wage by ¥14 to ¥763 in fiscal 2013, the largest hike in three years, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aiming for his economic stimulus to spill over into pay.

After a ¥12 increase in the previous year through March and ¥17 in fiscal 2010, the proposed hike will solve the issue of workers under the minimum wage earning less than welfare benefits in 10 out of the 11 prefectures that currently face the problem, officials said.

Each prefecture will apply a new minimum wage around October after examining the proposal in light of economic conditions in each area, they said.

The subcommittee under the Central Minimum Wages Council, an advisory body to the welfare minister, proposed raises by categorizing 46 prefectures into four groups by local economic size — ¥19 for the five largest economies, including Tokyo, Aichi and Osaka, and ¥12 and ¥10 each for the remaining three groups. As for Hokkaido, where ¥22 is needed to settle the discrepancy between the minimum wage and welfare levels, it proposed an ¥11 to ¥22 raise.