10 per cent increase in minimum wage
LABOUR MINISTER Pearnel Charles has announced a $430 increase in the minimum wage, but Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller is complaining it is "not enough to buy icy mint".
The increases, which take effect on February 28, will see the minimum wage moving from $4,070 to $4,500 for a 40-hour workweek.
In the case of industrial security guards, the minimum wage will increase from $6,050 to $6,655 for a 40-hour workweek.
The guards will also receive an increase in dog handler's premium from $20.35 per hour to $22.39. Firearm premium allowance is to be increased from $30.25 per hour to $33.28 while laundry allowance is to move from $27.50 to $30.25 per hour.
The cap on allowance, which was previously in place for guards, has been removed, thus allowing them to claim for every hour worked.
Charles said he was awaiting the completion of a study which he commissioned to determine a minimum liveable wage to determine whether a further adjustment is necessary.
Could hurt, not help
Last October, he said the minimum wage would not be adjusted ahead of the study, which is due in March. He also argued that an increase could hurt the very people it is intended to help.
"It is a fact that these are not normal times, and that is why the prime minister has instructed that until the study of liveable wage is completed, we are to proceed with an increase in the minimum wage," Charles said.
However, Simpson Miller said poor Jamaicans have been waiting too long for Government to legislate a decent minimum wage.
The minimum wage was last increased in 2009.