KINGSTON, Jamaica, January 25, 2008 – The National Minimum Wage has been increased by 17 per cent from J$3,200 per 40-hour work week to J$3,700.
The increase, which takes effect next Monday (Jan. 28), will also see the minimum wage for industrial security guards going up from J$4,700 to J$5,500.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, who made the announcement in the House of Representatives on January 22nd, said that the increases follow Cabinet’s approval of the recommendations of the Minimum Wage Advisory Commission.
Charles said that the Commission’s recommendations were informed by the current rate of inflation, the difficulty faced by minimum wage earners to meet their basic needs, and the implications for those who have to pay the increased wages.
He encouraged employers who are able to pay more than the minimum wage, to do so. “We therefore urge those who are paying above the minimum wage to continue to do so as we work to bring about some level of pay equity and protection for our minimum wage earners,” he stated.
Opposition Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, while commending Mr. Charles, said that the increase was inadequate and appealed for J$300 more to be added to the sum, to bring the total to J$4,000.
Charles, in response, said he would meet with the Opposition Leader to discuss the matter further. He also suggested that she table a motion outlining her request, at the next sitting of the House. (JIS)