ILO Asia-Pacific Garment and Footwear Sector Research Note Issue 5

Weak minimum wage compliance in Asia’s garment industry

Minimum wages can be an important part of the policy toolkit to meet the needs of workers and their families. However, minimum wages do not adequately fulfill this role if non-compliance is widespread. This research note shows that a large proportion of workers in the garment, footwear, and textiles sector in seven garment-exporting countries in Asia are paid below the minimum wage.

Non-compliance rates in the sector range from 6.6% of workers in Viet Nam to 53.3% in the Philippines. In each of the countries, women are more likely than men to be paid below the minimum wage. Workers with lower levels of education are also more likely to receive a wage below the minimum. In several countries, deep non-compliance is widespread, with a significant proportion of garment workers being paid less than 80 per cent of the minimum wage.