Highest and lowest minimum wages around the world – how does Canada stack up?

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As provinces across the country debate minimum wage increases, all of Canada has a long way to go to catch up with Australia, which currently has the world’s highest minimum wage at $16.88 an hour.

Australia's prime position could change next month if Switzerland  votes in favour of the proposed 22 francs (CAD$27.59) per hour in the national referendum on May 18. It makes Ontario's June 1 increase to $11 per hour look like a pittance.

However, only about 10% of Switzerland’s workers actually make minimum wage, with the rest of the population earning more, and polls in April show opinions are split on the issue.

United States President Barack Obama is also pushing to raise the federal minimum wage from US$7.25 to $10.10 per hour (CAD$11.14), but faces opposition from members of Congress.

Hiring the right employees can be difficult at the best of times, but spare a thought for HR people in Uganda - trying to find a star worker with an offer of 1c an hour must be a challenge of epic proportions.

Top 10 highest minimum wages
Country Work week (hours) Minimum hourly wage (US$)
Australia 38 16.88
Luxembourg 40 14.24
Monaco 39 12.83
France 35 12.22
Belgium 38 11.69
San Marino 37.5 11.49
New Zealand 40 11.18
Ireland 39 11.09
Netherlands 40 10.99
Canada 44 10.25
Top 10 lowest minimum wages
Country Work week (hours) Federally imposed minimum hourly wage (US$)
Gambia 41 0.19
Guinea-Bissau 45 0.19
Malawi 48 0.16
Tanzania 45 0.13
Central African Republic 52 0.1
Kyrgyzstan 40 0.1
Bangladesh 48 0.09
Cuba 44 0.05
Sierra Leone 40 0.03
Uganda 40 0.01

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