Quantifying the Living Wage in Swaziland: A Case of the Handicraft Sector
This study quantifies a living wage for rural and urban workers in the handicraft sector in Swaziland. It also compares the resultant living wage in between the two geographical areas. The study is interested in ascertaining the living wage in the handicraft sector because (1) the sector provides jobs to a significant proportion in the rural sector, and (2) paying decent salaries through the living wage has emerged as part of the solution to make rural jobs bankable and alter the employment landscape. The study finds that the estimated monthly living wage in Swaziland ranges from E1,241.66 to E6,839.96 and E2,345 to E8,208.71 for rural and urban handicraft workers, respectively. Currently, up to 70.9% of all employees are remunerated less than E2,000 which is 35% lower than the estimated living wage of E3,076.29 for a rural worker with a household size of three or 61.2% lower than the estimated living wage of E5,148.69 for an urban worker with a similar household size. Given these discrepancies, the study proposes E3,076.29 as the appropriate living wage for both rural and urban workers in Swaziland. It is recommended that measures and guidelines to enforce and strengthen the implementation of the estimated living wage amongst all regulated handicraft enterprises in Swaziland be developed. Handicraft enterprises are encouraged to consider gradually introducing the urban living wage over time.