Minimum wages around the world

With wage debates and uproar fresh in the minds of South African’s citizens, BusinessTech takes a look at some of the highest minimum wages in the world and how South Africa compares.

The wage calculations below are taken as the gross wage before reductions, taxes and other social payments and does not take into account purchasing power parity.

The figures also do not take into account money accrued through other variables such as paid public holidays (which will differ from country to country), sick days and paid leave.

Working hours per week vary between 36 – 43 hours a week, and as such all calculations were made on the average of 40 working hours per week and 52 weeks (or 12 months) per year.

For all countries, the lowest possible wage was taken for the calculation.

The developed world

Minimum wages in most developed countries are generally high, and take into account many variables such as age, industry and skill level when determining a lowest payable salary.

Australia’s national minimum wage is set at $15.96 per hour or $606.40 per week (AUS$31,532.80 per year), which, after conversions, translates to R23,945 per month (R287,336.33 per year).

This is compared to the R1,375.94 minimum wage a farm worker in South Africa now gets paid per month.

Top 12

Country Per day (local currency)
Per week (local currency)
Per month (local currency)
Per year (local currency)
Per year (US$)
Australia 606.40 31532.80 32680.59
Luxembourg 1801.49 21617.88 28872.84
Switzerland 2200.00 26400.00 28645.85
Ireland 8.65 17992.00 24030.12
New Zealand 13.50 28080.00 23890.46
Belgium 1472.40 17668.80 23598.45
Netherlands 333.85 17360.20 23200.17
France 1425.67 17108.04 22849.50
United Kingdom 6.19 12875.20 19977.16
San Marino 7.04 14643.20 19557.46
Canada 9.27 19281.60 19273.89
United States 7.25 15080.00 15080.00

Looking at Africa

As expected, African nations – as well as other developing nations across the world – fall far below the more developed countries.

In some cases, countries do not have a national minimum wage, but one is set by different industry bodies.

Country Per day (local currency)
Per week (local currency)
Per month (local currency)
Per year (local currency)
Per year (US$)
Egypt 700.00 8400.00 5408.38
Algeria 18000.00 216000.00 2755.45
South Africa 1375.94 16511.28 1876.31
Tunisia 218.00 2616.00 1681.88
Republic of Congo 54000.00 648000.00 1314.53
Botswana 3.8 7904.00 995.11
Kenya 2536.00 30432.00 347.99
Uganda 6000.00 72000.00 27.32

BRICS nations

In terms of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), SA sits in the middle when it comes to minimum wages.

Neither India nor China have a set minimum wage across the entire country, but each region and province has its own set minimum.

In China, for example, Beijing and Shanghai employees get a minimum wage of around $200 per month, compared to the Jiangxi, which has a set minimum of between $80 and $115.

Country Per day (local currency)
Per week (local currency)
Per month (local currency)
Per year (local currency)
Per year (US$)
Brazil 678.00 8136.00 4155.89
South Africa 1375.94 16511.28 1876.31
Russia 4330.00 51960.00 1726.47
China 500.00* 6000.00 962.69
India 3000.00* 36000.00 666.88

* Varies per region, lowest set wage taken

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Minimum wages around the world