Minimum wage increase - $7,000 per 40-hour workweek from August 1

Minimum wage earners will have more money in their pockets based on a 13 per cent increase from $6,200 to $7,000 per 40-hour workweek, which takes effect on August 1. The minimum wage for security guards moves from $8,854 to $9,700.

Labour Minister Shahine Robinson made the long-awaited announcement during her Sectoral Debate presentation in Parliament yesterday.

"We have reviewed the recommendations, we have taken into account the stability of the Jamaican economy, the rate of inflation and the economic circumstances of the workers, as well as the ability of the employers to absorb an increase," said Robinson.

The labour minister implored employers to use the minimum wage as a benchmark and to give workers more if resources are available.

She added, "Mr Speaker, I have just announced an increase in the minimum wage for security guards, but I must point out that numerous concerns have been raised [about that industry] ... . We must, therefore, take a serious look as (to) what is happening in the industry."

During his Sectoral Debate presentation earlier this month, opposition counterpart Horace Dalley outlined problems related to the employment status of security guards and the labour rights issues that arise.

He had indicated that the Opposition would be going to court to seek a declaratory judgment to determine whether security guards were contractors or workers.

Robinson fired back yesterday: "I would like to make it clear also, Mr Speaker, that I have reviewed the sectoral presentations made by the previous minister of labour and social security (Derrick Kellier) between 2013 and 2015; and on not one occasion was any mention made of security guards."

Robinson recommended the empanelling of a joint select committee of Parliament with all stakeholders to examine and address the matter.


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