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Reforms to Minimum Wages in Shanghai

Worker on Shanghai's minimum wage may soon see their pay reformed to guarantee them a higher disposable income, officials with Shanghai Labor and Social Security Bureau said Wednesday.

The new minimum wage system, which is still being formed, will include basic pay plus allowances covering transport, meals and night shifts, the bureau said.

"We are forming a new system to ensure that employees won't suffer from lower incomes due to high routine expenses such as transport and meal costs," said Bao Danru, vice director of the bureau.

Specific allowance amounts are yet to be discussed.

The city was the first on China's mainland to set up a minimum wage system in 1993. But the lowest wage, now fixed at 840 yuan (US$111) per month, covers only employees' wages and social security fund contributions.

"Although many employees are paid a minimum wage, the inevitable routine costs of living will still push their income down," Bao said. "We are trying to protect the interest of low-income workers."

The news came after the city government announced its new three-year action plan for smooth employment relationships yesterday.

The action plan bans company managers, especially those in state-owned enterprises, from getting a pay rise unless pay rises are also given to frontline workers.

Officials will intensify routine labor inspections on companies with records of underpayment, wage delays and social security fund evasion.

(Shanghai Daily September 27, 2007)

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