By Julia Rawlins-Bentham
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) — Barbados’ new minimum wage took effect from Thursday, April 1, as indicated by the government. Prime minister Mia Amor Mottley addressed the nation on a wide range of topics during a virtual press conference from Ilaro Court.
Members of the private sector called on government to delay the start of the new minimum wage until early next year as a way of giving businesses a chance to “bounce back” having suffered losses resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Noting that the government was spending “significant sums” of money in both grants and loans to support the tourism sector and others in society, she stressed that they could not leave out those “at the very edge of the margin and [persons] who cannot make it easily”.
“To tell them to wait another eight months to be able to get another $10, $12 or $15 a day, which becomes absolutely critical to them, particularly given the fact that they have not had increases in a whole range of other issues, but prices have gone up, is not fair. It is unconscionable,” Mottley declared.
The prime minister said the last minimum payment for shop assistants was introduced almost a decade or more ago, in a world that has seen price increases of more than 40 percent.