New minimum wage study to begin May

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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Chairman of the National Minimum Wage Advisory Commission (NMWAC) Silvera Castro says the commission has already begun its work in arriving at the new rates, and hopes to reach a position this year.“We are about to start the islandwide consultations and we hope to make a recommendation by the end of the year. We expect to be on the road in another three weeks,” Castro told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

However, it is very unlikely that the new rates would be implemented this year, as the commission proceeds with its consultations and eventually makes a recommendation to the Cabinet. The recommendation will have to be approved by the Cabinet before disclosure, and the usual practice is for the minimum rates to be increased in the first quarter of the year.

The current national minimum wage of $6,200 for a 40-hour work week, or $155 per hour, was announced in January 2016. But,it became effective on March 1 that year, based on a 10.71 per cent increase granted by the commission.

In addition, the NMWAC increased the minimum rates for private security guards to $8,854 for a 40-hour work week, or $221.35 cents per hour. The security guards also received an increase in their insurance coverage from $2 million to $2.5 million.

Castro said that the commission has been meeting to discuss the issue, and has already asked the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to request submissions from the various stakeholders involved with the industry.

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