最低賃金 まだ残る生活保護との逆転

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 3, 2009)
Minimum wage should always exceed welfare
最低賃金 まだ残る生活保護との逆転(8月3日付・読売社説)

The Central Minimum Wages Council, an advisory panel to the health, labor and welfare minister, has proposed to the minister reference increases for the minimum wage in fiscal 2009 that differ from prefecture to prefecture.
 厚生労働省の中央最低賃金審議会が、地域別最低賃金の今年度の引き上げの目安を示した。

The proposals are to leave unchanged the minimum wage in the 35 prefectures in which the minimum wage exceeds welfare benefit, and to raise the minimum wage in the remaining 12, including Tokyo, by 2 yen to 30 yen an hour.
 最低賃金が生活保護水準を上回る35県は据え置き、それ以外の12都道府県は、時給で2円から30円の引き上げを求める、という内容である。

If the panel's recommendation is adopted, the national average minimum wage would rise by between 7 yen and 9 yen to 710-712 yen an hour, which translates to a net monthly income of about 106,000 yen. Considering current economic conditions, such a hike would be a drastic one.
 この結果、最低賃金は全国平均で7~9円引き上げられ、時給で710~712円、月収換算すると、税などを控除して約10万6000円となる。経済状況からすれば、踏み込んだ決着となった。

A year-on-year comparison of the national average minimum wage shows that increases of 14 yen and 16 yen occurred in fiscal 2007 and 2008, respectively, representing double-digit growth for two consecutive years. But the rate of wage increases for small companies nationwide, which the advisory panel studies when working out the minimum wage reference increases, fell into negative territory in 2009.
 ここ2年は平均14円、16円と2ケタ増が続いたが、目安を審議する際に参考にしている全国の小規模企業の賃上げ率は、今年はマイナスに転じていた。

Panel members selected from labor circles sought an increase of 50 yen an hour in the minimum wage last year, but failed to demand a specific figure this year, no doubt in consideration of the severe business environment.
 昨年は時給50円増を求めた労働側委員も、今回は具体的な上げ幅を示さなかった。経営環境の厳しさを承知していたからだろう。

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Panel's proposal no panacea

The Minimum Wages Law, which was revised in July 2008, calls for setting the minimum wage by factoring in employers' ability to pay wages and "harmonization of the minimum wage and welfare benefit."
 最低賃金法が昨年7月に改正され、事業主側の賃金支払い能力などに加え、新たに「生活保護との整合性」にも配慮して最低賃金を定めることが盛り込まれた。

Even in the current economic climate, if the panel had abandoned the goal of pursuing "harmonization of the minimum wage and welfare benefit" only two years after the law revision, its raison d'etre would have been called into question.
 景気が悪くても施行2年目でこれを放棄しては、審議会の存在が問われるところでもあった。

The problem of the minimum wage being below welfare benefit in the 12 prefectures will not be solved merely through the implementation of the panel's recommendation. In the case of Tokyo, if the minimum wage is raised in line with the panel's proposal, the amount would be increased from the current 766 yen an hour to a maximum 796 yen. But 796 yen an hour is 30 yen less than the amount of welfare benefit paid in the capital, in hourly terms.
 生活保護と逆転している12都道府県は、今回でそれが解消されるわけではない。東京都の場合、目安どおりアップすれば現状の時給766円から最大796円になるが、まだ時給で30円足りない。

The amount of welfare benefit is categorized in six ranks according to municipality (cities, towns and villages). The national average minimum wage is compared with the average amount of welfare benefit received by young, single people in each prefecture. In most of the 35 prefectures whose minimum wage the panel proposes be left as is, the amount of welfare benefit paid out in the capitals of those prefectures likely will exceed the minimum wage paid in those cities.
 生活保護は市町村ごとに6ランクに分けて決められている。最低賃金は若年単身者の都道府県別の平均額と比較するが、最低賃金が据え置かれた35県の多くも、県庁所在地で比べると、生活保護の方が上回るとみられている。

The advisory panels responsible for setting the minimum wage in each prefecture will decide how much to raise it based on the reference increases proposed by the central government panel, and the raises will be introduced from October. We hope the minimum wage will exceed welfare benefit in all the areas of each prefecture.
 今後、中央審が示した目安を参考に、都道府県ごとに地方審議会が引き上げ額を決定し、10月から改定される予定だ。都道府県内のどの地域でも生活保護を上回ることを目標にしてもらいたい。

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Deeper discussions needed

If welfare benefit exceeds the minimum wage, workers who receive little more than that amount will lose the motivation to work, while people on welfare will have no incentive to find a job. "Harmonization of the minimum wage and welfare benefit" is an issue that should be seriously discussed next year and after, too.
 生活保護の方が高ければ、最低賃金ぎりぎりで働く人の就労意欲は失われ、生活保護者は職を探す気にならないだろう。「生活保護との整合性」は、来年以降もしっかりと追求していくべきだ。

With the increase in the number of nonregular workers, including part-time workers, the importance of the role of the minimum wage system as a social safety net is growing.
 パートなどの非正規労働者が増加し、安全網としての最低賃金制度の役割は増している。

The manifestos of each opposition party and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's coalition partner, New Komeito, for the next House of Representatives election propose a minimum wage of 1,000 yen an hour. But it is problematic to treat student part-timers on an equal footing with fatherless families when it comes to setting the minimum wage.
 野党各党や公明党は衆院選の公約で「時給1000円」の最低賃金を掲げているが、学生アルバイトと母子家庭では同一に論じられないという側面もある。

More intensive discussions on a fair minimum wage level and how to set such a level should be held, taking into account how this issue affects corporate management.
 企業経営への影響を含め、最低賃金のあり方や決定方法の議論を深めることが重要だろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 3, 2009)
(2009年8月3日01時21分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-08-03 08:45 | 英字新聞

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