JIS News

The Senate on Friday (March 2) passed a Bill to amend the Minimum Wage Act, to increase the fines and penalties for persons who fail to comply with the law.
Minister of State for Labour and Social Security, Senator Floyd Morris, who piloted the Bill, pointed out that the proposed amendments were in keeping with a commitment given by the Minister Derrick Kellier last year, to strengthen the legislation, and to make sure that the fines and penalties were in keeping with current realities.
He noted that while many employers were in compliance with the Act, others were in breach.
Under the Bill, the fine for a breach of section 4B (3) of the legislation will increase from $200 to $250,000; breach of section 5(1) will move from $100 to $100,000; section 8 (2) from $200 to $250,000; section 11 from $20 to $100,000; section 12 (3) from $200 to $250,000 and section 12 (4) from $1000 to $750,000 and a reduction in the prison term from 12 months to nine months.
Section 12 (5) (c) of the Act is also being amended to replace the word ‘solicitor’ with ‘attorney at law’, while a new section 13 (2) has being added, which will provide for the imposition of penalties on conviction in a Resident Magistrate Court, of a fine not exceeding $1 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both such fine and imprisonment. According to Senator Morris, the minimum wage was an amount that employers should not pay below, but those who could afford to do so, should pay more.
“Some individuals want to put forward their own interpretation as to what this is and seek to pay just what is stipulated as the minimum figure and ignore the fact that it is suppose to be a guide as to where they can go in terms of payment”, he stated.

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