The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) performed a comprehensive market-basket analysis in order to establish a living wage standard for free trade zone apparel workers in the Dominican Republic. Based on this analysis, the WRC determined that a living wage in the Dominican Republic is 222,042 Dominican pesos per annum. The gross wage necessary to yield this amount as take-home pay is 235,987 Dominican pesos. The current minimum wage in the country (as of early 2010) is 70,200 pesos per annum. In US dollars, and expressed as an hourly wage, the Dominica minimum wage is $0.84 and the living wage is $2.83.

In conducting its analysis, the WRC took, as a starting point, the broad agreement among researchers that a living wage should cover the cost of meeting a family’s basic needs in the following categories of goods and services: food and water, housing and energy, clothing, health care, transportation, education and childcare, as well as modest funds for savings and discretionary spending. The WRC then developed, through consultations with worker representatives and local experts,2 the specific market basket of goods and services, in each of these categories, appropriate to the Dominican Republic. The WRC then measured the actual price of each item in the basket, as available in markets and from vendors and service providers accessible to workers.

WRC provides an item-by-item list of the contents of the market basket developed for the analysis, the price of each item in pesos, the annual and monthly living wage figures generated by the analysis, and the gross wage that must be paid in order to yield a take-home wage that meets the living wage standard. We then provide explanatory notes for each category of goods and services included in the basket. Finally, we provide, for purposes of comparison, the findings of other recent cost of living estimates for the Dominican Republic. Additional explanation and discussion of methodological issues are provided in the footnotes. The WRC’s analysis was completed in October of 2008.