Debate opens over Colombia’s 2014 minimum wage

(Still: YouTube)

Discussions over next year’s increase rate for Colombia’s minimum wage started Monday and will continue through the week. According to local media, the Minister of Labor said not to expect an increase of over 4% for 2014.

Colombia’s monthly minimum wage for 2013 was set in December, 2012, at $305.47 per month, or $3,665 per year.  From 2011 to 2012, the minimum wage was increased by 4.02%.

The annual  inflation rate of 2013, calculated in October, was at 1.8%.

Unions called the 2013 rise “miserable” and that along with tax changes introduced in 2013 the minimal wage increase would lead to increasing inequality in Colombia.

Meanwhile employers, who had initially asked for an increase of 3.5%, were satisfied with increase.

MORE: Colombia’s minimum wage rises 4% despite union objections

According to government statistics, 54% of workers in Colombia earn the minimum wage or less. Furthermore, a total of 3.4 million workers do not earn even one half of the country’s minimum wage.

In Colombia, much of the country’s economic activity exists outside the government-regulated economy, allowing employers to pay workers salaries less than the legal minimum wage.

There are 900,000 Colombian workers (less than 5 percent) who earn over four times the monthly minimum wage. Of those who earn over four times the minimum wage, 630,000 have a university education.

Minimum wage vs. Inflation


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