Jamaica raises national minimum wage

Minimum wage hike of 28.5 percent to take effect April 1, 2022 

KINGSTON, JAMAICA — The long-awaited increase in the nation’s minimum wage will come into effect on April 1, Labour Minister Karl Samuda announced on Tuesday.

“Cabinet has approved an increase in the national minimum wage. That was done at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting,” the minister said.

A happy employee receives his paycheck.

“This will move the country’s minimum wage from $7,000 to $9,000 per 40-hour work week effective April 1, 2022. This represents a 28.5 percent increase.”

Samuda went into details on separate increases for security guards, outlining that those workers will also receive increases in certain allowances.

“Cabinet has approved an increase also in the minimum wage for security guards from $9,700 to $10,500 per 40-hour work week, and increases in the allowances payable to security guards,” he revealed.

“Laundry allowance will be increased from $40 to $47.62 per hour.

“Firearm premium allowance will be increased from $48 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.”

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    Wage hike a long time coming 

    Jamaican Minister of Labour Karl Samuda.

    Minister Samuda acknowledged and apologized to the Jamaican people for the long wait for the increase in minimum wage, which he said had been approved from as early as 2020 but had not been implemented due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “The National Minimum Wage Advisory Commission submitted their report quite frankly as far back as 2020,” Samuda revealed.

    “The fact of the matter is that at that time, Jamaica was at the stage where the pandemic had set in and we were losing thousands of jobs because of the challenges that it posed.

    “The decision was taken then that in the face of all those challenges, it would be best to give us a chance to take the necessary action in order to get the labour market back on stream.

    “I’m happy to announce today that we are almost there. Not quite there fully, but we are almost there.

    “The recovery process has been quite rapid for Jamaica and we are enjoying the benefits of that recovery.”

    The minister also said he, like many others, wished the minimum wage could have been increased even further, but that additional increases depend largely on how quickly the Jamaican economy recovers.

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