University of Minnesota

Recommendation concerning Minimum Wage Fixing, with Special Reference to Developing Countries (R35), June 22, 1970.



R135 Minimum Wage Fixing Recommendation, 1970

Recommendation concerning Minimum Wage Fixing, with Special Reference to Developing Countries



Session of the Conference:54

Date of adoption=22:06:1970

Subject classification: Minimum Wage

Subject: Wages

Display the document in: French Spanish

Status: Up-to-date instrument

The General Conference of the International Labour Organisation,

Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, and having met in its Fifty-fourth Session on 3 June 1970, and

Noting the terms of the Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery Recommendation, 1928, the Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery (Agriculture) Recommendation, 1951, and the Equal Remuneration Recommendation, 1951, which contain valuable guidelines for minimum wage fixing bodies, and

Considering that experience in more recent years has emphasised the importance of certain additional considerations relating to minimum wage fixing, including that of adopting criteria which will make systems of minimum wages both an effective instrument of social protection and an element in the strategy of economic and social development, and

Considering that minimum wage fixing should in no way operate to the prejudice of the exercise and growth of free collective bargaining as a means of fixing wages higher than the minimum, and

Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to minimum wage fixing machinery and related problems, with special reference to developing countries, which is the fifth item on the agenda of the session, and

Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of a Recommendation,

adopts this twenty-second day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and seventy, the following Recommendation, which may be cited as the Minimum Wage Fixing Recommendation, 1970:

I. Purpose of Minimum Wage Fixing

1. Minimum wage fixing should constitute one element in a policy designed to overcome poverty and to ensure the satisfaction of the needs of all workers and their families.

2. The fundamental purpose of minimum wage fixing should be to give wage earners necessary social protection as regards minimum permissible levels of wages.

II. Criteria for Determining the Level of Minimum Wages

3. In determining the level of minimum wages, account should be taken of the following criteria, amongst others:

(a) the needs of workers and their families;

(b) the general level of wages in the country;

(c) the cost of living and changes therein;

(d) social security benefits;

(e) the relative living standards of other social groups;

(f) economic factors, including the requirements of economic development, levels of productivity and the desirability of attaining and maintaining a high level of employment.

III. Coverage of the Minimum Wage Fixing System

4. The number and groups of wage earners who are not covered in pursuance of Article 1 of the Minimum Wage Fixing Convention, 1970, should be kept to a minimum.


(1) The system of minimum wages may be applied to the wage earners covered in pursuance of Article 1 of the Convention either by fixing a single minimum wage of general application or by fixing a series of minimum wages applying to particular groups of workers.

(2) A system based on a single minimum wage--

(a) need not be incompatible with the fixing of different rates of minimum wages in different regions or zones with a view to allowing for differences in costs of living;

(b) should not impair the effects of decisions, past or future, fixing minimum wages higher than the general minimum for particular groups of workers.

IV. Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery

6. The minimum wage fixing machinery provided for in Article 4 of the Convention may take a variety of forms, such as the fixing of minimum wages by--

(a) statute;

(b) decisions of the competent authority, with or without formal provision for taking account of recommendations from other bodies;

(c) decisions of wages boards or councils;

(d) industrial or labour courts or tribunals; or

(e) giving the force of law to provisions of collective agreements.

7. The consultation provided for in paragraph 2 of Article 4 of the Convention should include, in particular, consultation in regard to the following matters:

(a) the selection and application of the criteria for determining the level of minimum wages;

(b) the rate or rates of minimum wages to be fixed;

(c) the adjustment from time to time of the rate or rates of minimum wages;

(d) problems encountered in the enforcement of minimum wage legislation;

(e) the collection of data and the carrying out of studies for the information of minimum wage fixing authorities.

8. In countries in which bodies have been set up which advise the competent authority on minimum wage questions, or to which the government has delegated responsibility for minimum wage decisions, the participation in the operation of minimum wage fixing machinery referred to in paragraph 3 of Article 4 of the Convention should include membership of such bodies.

9. The persons representing the general interests of the country whose participation in the operation of minimum wage fixing machinery is provided for in Article 4, paragraph 3, subparagraph (b), of the Convention should be suitably qualified independent persons who may, where appropriate, be public officials with responsibilities in the areas of industrial relations or economic and social planning or policy-making.

10. To the extent possible in national circumstances, sufficient resources should be devoted to the collection of statistics and other data needed for analytical studies of the relevant economic factors, particularly those mentioned in Paragraph 3 of this Recommendation, and their probable evolution.

V. Adjustment of Minimum Wages

11. Minimum wage rates should be adjusted from time to time to take account of changes in the cost of living and other economic conditions.

12. To this end a review might be carried out of minimum wage rates in relation to the cost of living and other economic conditions either at regular intervals or whenever such a review is considered appropriate in the light of variations in a cost-of-living index.


(1) In order to assist in the application of Paragraph 11 of this Recommendation, periodical surveys of national economic conditions, including trends in income per head, in productivity and in employment, unemployment and underemployment, should be made to the extent that national resources permit.

(2) The frequency of such surveys should be determined in the light of national conditions.

VI. Enforcement

14. Measures to ensure the effective application of all provisions relating to minimum wages, as provided for in Article 5 of the Convention, should include the following:

(a) arrangements for giving publicity to minimum wage provisions in languages or dialects understood by workers who need protection, adapted where necessary to the needs of illiterate persons;

(b) the employment of a sufficient number of adequately trained inspectors equipped with the powers and facilities necessary to carry out their duties;

(c) adequate penalties for infringement of the provisions relating to minimum wages;

(d) simplification of legal provisions and procedures, and other appropriate means of enabling workers effectively to exercise their rights under minimum wage provisions, including the right to recover amounts by which they may have been underpaid;

(e) the association of employers' and workers' organisations in efforts to protect workers against abuses;

(f) adequate protection of workers against victimisation.


Home || Treaties || Search || Links