JIS News

It has been proposed that employers be given a two-month period to review their budgets before the agreed adjustment to the national minimum wage for this year takes effect.

This recommendation comes from Chairman of the Minimum Wage Advisory Commission, Silvera Castro, who said employers would need adequate time to make their own adjustments to “assist the process”.

Mr. Silvera was addressing the final in a series of islandwide consultations on the national minimum wage, at the North Street Offices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in downtown Kingston on July 13.

The Chairman said this is one of the recommendations that will be made in the Commission’s report, which is to be submitted to portfolio Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, by the end of August/early September.

The Minister will then take the document to Cabinet for approval, after which it will be presented to the House of Representatives.

In the meantime, representative for the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) on the Commission, Bernita Locke, said the Federation endorses full compliance with the national minimum wage for all eligible groups.

“The JEF will continue to encourage its members to support any increase to the minimum wage once that is given,” she said.

Mrs. Locke noted, however, that employers’ ability to pay the increase should also be taken into consideration.

She further called on the Government, as did several other contributors, to re-establish the Joint Industrial Council for private security guards, which would comprise representatives of the Labour Ministry, trade unions and security companies.

For his part, Manager, Human and Community Development Unit, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Steven Kerr, proposed a seven per cent increase in the national minimum wage.

This would see minimum-wage earners receiving an additional sum of $434 per 40-hour workweek.

Most of the suggested increases by other contributors ranged between seven and 10 per cent. Submissions were made by representatives of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU); the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees; Jamaica Household Workers Union; Jamaica Society for Industrial Security; the Bureau of Gender Affairs, and other interest groups.

In 2016, the national minimum wage was increased from $5,600 per week to $6,200 for a 40-hour workweek.

The minimum wage for industrial security guards was also increased from $204.97 per hour to $221.35 per hour for a 40-hour work week.

The Minimum Wage Advisory Commission is comprised of representatives of the Government, trade unions and employers’ groups, and is mandated to review the rates annually.

It conducts consultations in keeping with the Minimum Wage Act, and recommends minimum rates for groups of wage earners who do not have the bargaining power to negotiate for fair wages.

The other consultations for this year were held in St. James, Manchester, Ocho Rios and Portland.

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