Minister Williams says more than 5,000 workers in 294 institutions could benefit from grant payment if they qualify
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — The Cabinet has agreed to provide teachers of independent Jamaican schools with a lump sum payment of $40,000 each, and ancillary workers at those schools with $25,000 each, as part of the government’s CARE Programme introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grants amount to approximately USD$270 and USD$169 respectively.
In making the announcement, Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams said, “Cabinet gave approval for the payment of a grant of $40,000 to academic and administrative staff and $25,000 to ancillary staff employed in independent schools.”
She explained that “despite the impact that the pandemic and the control measures had on Jamaica’s educational institutions, employees in public educational institutions remained employed and continued to receive their salaries and relevant allowances”.
“The CARE Programme made provision for persons working in early childhood institutions registered by the Early Childhood Commission, resulting in 2,140 offices receiving grant payment,” Williams said.
“The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information had requested the extension of benefits under the CARE Programme to the employees of independent schools, as had been provided to the early childhood institutions.
“There are over 5,000 persons in 294 institutions registered with the Independent Schools Unit of the ministry. The grant would only apply to employees of those independent schools at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels as approved and submitted to the CARE Programme by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
“The provision of grants is estimated to cost $250 million and is being financed from the budgeted provision for the CARE Programme under the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.”
Minister Williams also noted that “talks have been going on” for a wage increase for Jamaican teachers in the public sector. According to local media, a four percent wage increase for public sector workers is on the table for discussion, along with a lump sum payment of $40,000 to those with salaries of $1.5 million or less.
While Williams declined to provide further details on the wage talks, she did highlight that the government’s CARE Programme, which aims to “assist businesses, individuals and self-employed persons who had been impacted by the severe economic disruption brought on by the pandemic”, has mostly benefitted “tourism, business process outsourcing, transport and municipality-related operations” in Jamaica.
“To date, $15 billion in direct financial payments have been made since the programme’s inception,” she said.