Minimum wage increase takes effect next month
Effective January 6 next year, the minimum wage will be increased from $5,000 to $5,600 for a 40-hour workweek.
The new minimum wage was revealed yesterday in Parliament by Derrick Kellier, minister of labour and social security.
Minimum wage for industrial security guards will also be increased from $7,320.40 to $8,198.80 for a 40-hour workweek.
Security guards will also get a laundry allowance increase to $37.30 from $33.30 per hour. Additionally, firearm premium allowance payable to security guards to be increased from $36.60 to $41 per hour.
Kellier said Cabinet approved the increase on Monday.
In the meantime, Opposition Spokesperson on Labour and Social Security Pearnel Charles noted that, given the current state of the economy and the high cost of living, the increase was inadequate.
He implored the Government to consider a more reasonable increase.
Opposition Leader Andrew Holness asked that the increase be looked at in relation to the slide in the US dollar and the rate of inflation over the period since the last increase.
Kellier implored employers to pay more and only use the minimum wage as a guideline.
He also said he did not want the increase to be used as a rationale for cutting the workforce. He said that, for that reason, he tried to make the increase balanced in order to ease the burden of workers while not pressuring employers, given the state of the economy that was affecting everyone.
"There has to be growth in the economy, as well as increased productivity, before we can make bolder steps," Kellier said.