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Cabinet Approves 28.5 Per Cent National Minimum Wage Increase

By: , February 22, 2022
Cabinet Approves 28.5 Per Cent National Minimum Wage Increase
Photo: Serena Grant
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda.

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Cabinet has approved a 28.5 per cent increase in the national minimum wage, effective April 1, 2022.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, says this will see the rate moving from $7,000 to $9,000 per 40-hour work.

Mr. Samuda further advised that Cabinet approved increases in the minimum wage for industrial security guards, which will move from $9,700 to $10,500 per 40-hour work week, along with accompanying allowances.

He was speaking during a digital press conference on Tuesday (February 22).

Mr. Samuda said security guards will also benefit from increases in laundry allowance that will move from $44 to $47.62 per hour, and firearm premium allowance, that will go up from $48 to $51.95 per hour.

The dog handlers’ premium allowance will be increased from $33 to $35.72 per hour, while life insurance with double indemnity protection and dismemberment coverage will also increase from $2.75 million to $2.97 million.

“The necessary orders will give effect to these increases when… tabled in the House [of Representatives], which will take place as soon as the House [reconvenes],” the Minister stated.

Mr. Samuda said the National Minimum Wage Advisory Commission submitted their report outlining the recommendations in 2020.

He pointed out, however, that due to the pandemic “we were losing thousands of jobs because of the challenges that it posed”.

“The decision was taken then that it would be best to give us a chance to take the necessary action to get the labour market back on stream. I am happy to announce that we are almost there…. the recovery process has been quite rapid for Jamaica, and we are enjoying the benefits of that recovery,” the Minister added.

Mr. Samuda said while it was hoped that the minimum wage could have been further increased, “it depends largely on the pace at which the Jamaican economy recovers”.

“We thank God for the pace that it has recovered, so far, and we have expectations that things will improve to enable this benefit to be even more meaningful in the near future,” he stated

Mr. Samuda indicated that Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, “had discussions with us and is fully aware of our efforts”.

“[He] has committed himself, wherever possible, [that] he will make an effort to see to it that wages for the Jamaican people improve as soon as our economy improves more than it is [now] and the productivity of our people increases, so that we can add more wealth and value to the country,” he further said

Mr. Samuda pointed out that while many employers are of the opinion that the minimum wage is what persons should be paid, he encourages them to pay more where possible.

“This is the minimum wage and there are many people who use it as a guide; but it does not constitute [the] wage that you are expected to pay. If you can do more [for] those [who] work for you [who] fall into these categories, then by all means, certainly efforts should be made to do that,” Mr. Samuda emphasised.

The Minister also thanked all organisations participating in consultations on the minimum wage.

They include the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Jamaica Security Guards Association, Jamaica Employers’ Federation, Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, Jamaica Society for Industrial Security, Jamaica Household Workers Union, Bureau of Gender Affairs, Sugar Producers Federation of Jamaica, Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association, the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union.

Last Updated: February 22, 2022

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