Jamaica increases minimum wage by almost 30 per cent
The Jamaica government Tuesday announced a 28.5 per cent increase in the national minimum wage with Labour Minister, Karl Samuda, urging employers who can pay more than the minimum wage to do so.
Effective April 1, 2022, it will move from J$7,000 (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) per 40-hour workweek to $9,000.
“This is the minimum wage, and there are many people who use this as a guide, but it does not constitute the wage that you are expected to pay. If you can do more and you help, as many do, those who work for you that fall into these categories, then by all means; certainly effort should be made to do that,” Samuda told a news conference.
Samuda said the increase was approved on Monday by Cabinet and that the minimum wage for security guards will move from J$9,700 to J$10,500 per 40-hour workweek.
“Laundry allowance will be increased from $40 to $47.62 per hour. Firearm premium allowance will be increased from $48.00 to $51.95 per hour. The dog handlers’ premium allowance will be increased from $33 to $35.72 per hour. Life insurance coverage with double indemnity protection and dismemberment coverage will also increase from $2.75 million to $2.97 million,” Samuda announced Tuesday morning at a virtual media briefing.
The announcement by the government comes in the wake of inflation reaching a new high of 9.7 per cent for the annual period ending January.
The minimum wage was last increased on Emancipation Day, August 1, 2018, by 12.9 per cent.
Chairman of the Minimum Wage Advisory Commission, Ronald Robinson, said a liveable wage is being considered for minimum wage earners.
“[O]ne of the things that we have sought to do in this particular report was to think of it not just as a wage increase or a dollar increase but to also add several other aspects to sort of giving a package. “And I think that will be dealt with in the long-term basis, but it’s really to try and to move the persons earning at this level to almost a point of being able to live, and I think that’s where we’re headed,” he added.