Egypt parliamentary committee approves draft law on wage caps

Ahram Online, Sunday 8 Apr 2012

Parliamentary budget and planning committee green-lights bill setting national maximum wage at LE50,000 a month - some 35 times official minimum wage

maximum wage
(Photo Mai Shaheen)

Parliament's budget and planning committee, headed up by Freedom and Justice Party MP Saad El-Husseini, has approved a draft law setting Egypt's national maximum monthly wage at LE50,000, some 35 times the official minimum wage, state news agency MENA reported on Sunday.

MPs demanded that the wage cap be applied to all Egyptian public-sector employees, including those in the energy, banking and military sectors. MPs stressed that the sole exceptions to the law would be for specific individuals hired for specific periods, pending government approval. 

The notion of wage caps has already encountered a degree of resistance from certain quarters.

In February, Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Governor Farouk El-Oqda openly stated his refusal to implement a maximum wage in Egypt's banking sector. Employees at several public-sector banks, meanwhile, have staged a number of demonstrations against the application of wage caps.

"It's difficult to set a minimum wage in all state sectors since this requires an overhaul of official wage policy, but we're aiming to set a viable maximum wage," Egyptian Minister of Finance Momtaz El-Saeed told MPs.

According to El-Husseini, several meetings have already been scheduled between his budget and planning committee and parliament's labour committee to discuss the needed wage restructuring.

In December, Egypt's ruling military council issued a decree, which was to come into effect by January 2012, setting the maximum wage at the aforementioned limit.

Egypt's sprawling civil service sector accounts for 23 per cent of the country's total labour force, while the public sector accounts for a mere 2.7 per cent, according to the semi-official Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic and Political Studies.

Short link: