The justification for having a minimum wage is an issue of fairness as Gilbert Goh points out. Is it fair that the free market rate is so low that it is below the rate that someone cannot support him or herself. Put it this way and given S’pore is a rich, developed city state, the govmin sounds mean to deprive S’poreans and others working here of a minimum wage.
If as a matter of ”fairness”, we should implement it, then the issue becomes what damage, if any, to the economy? And can any damage be quantified?
And then decide (assuming that it does damage the economy), whether fairness or “the greater gd” should prevail.
There are several empirical studies that suggest that a minimum wage moderately above the free-market wage would not harm employment much and could (in some circumstances) potentially raise it.
Let’s not mix the issues up, something that many on both sides of the debate seem to do. But maybe they mix up the issues on purpose: to try to win the debate.
Me? I think that fairness demands we have it, but I am concerned about the paperwork. Remember even businesses that are exempted, have to keep records in case the govmin comes ‘ checking. And smaller businesses that are not exempted, have to keep the same records as a GLC, TLC or MNC that has a large HR department.