Israel's Nasty Minimum Wage
By David Henderson
The government is considering establishing work camps in the south of the country, where illegal migrant workers will receive shelter, food and medical care, Army Radio reported Wednesday. In exchange, illegal migrants would perform manual labor outside the camps, but would not earn a salary.
They would stay at the camp until their asylum claims are decided, which could take months or years.
This is from a recent story in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
What does this have to do with the minimum wage? Read on:
“We contacted many kibbutzim in an effort to have Sudanese asylum seekers released for farm work,” she said. “Despite the argument they desperately needed workers, most of the coordinators at the kibbutzim rejected my request after they learned they would have to pay the asylum seekers at least minimum wage, as provided by law, [and] could not make deductions from their salaries beyond what the law on foreign workers requires.”
In other words, the Israeli government is saying:
You can pay the minimum wage or more, or you can pay zero, but don’t let us catch you paying anything below the minimum wage and greater than zero.
Update: Typo noted by Mike, Ryan Vann, Scott Clark, and by e-mail, Bryan Caplan, fixed. Thanks guys. I sure ruined my closing flourish, n’est-ce pas?