Minimum wage for security guards also set to go up on June 1
Jamaica’s national minimum wage is to go by 44 per cent to $13,000 per 40-hour work week, effective June 1.
This is coming from the current rate of J$9,000 per week.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who made the announcement in Parliament last evening (March 16) during his marathon contribution to the 2023-2024 Budget Debate, also announced an increase in the minimum wage for industrial security guards, which will move from J$10,500 per week to J$14,000. The effective date of this increase will also be on June 1.
The national minimum wage was last increased in April 2022.
In his five-hour long presentation, which suffered from an hour-long time out due to audio problems, Holness told the House of Representatives that the differential between the national minimum wage and the minimum wage payable to security guards has narrowed because security guards are now classified as workers following a court ruling last year.
Parity coming in two groups of minimum wages
According to the prime minister, “the next time an increase in the national minimum wage is announced, there will be no differential between the two groups”.
He boasted that, since assuming office in 2016, his Jamaica Labour Party Government has increased the minimum wage from J$6,200 per week to J$13,000, or 110 per cent, over the seven-year period.
Pointing out that the cumulative inflation over the period was less than 50 per cent, Holness made the point that, even in US dollars, the increase in the minimum wage represents a 66 per cent increase. He sought to explain the reason for not imposing any news taxes, arguing that the Government was strategic in its decision not to impose new taxes in the trillion-dollar budget presented, in order not to erode the income of Jamaicans.
“We recognised that the contribution of minimum wage earners, such as household workers, artisans, labourers, store clerks and security personnel, is vital to the success of our manufacturers, hotel professionals, lawyers, doctors and teachers in meeting our national productivity and service targets,” Holness said.
The prime minister trumpeted that his Government has done more than any previous administrations to create prosperity for Jamaica and Jamaicans.