By Latonya Linton
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Minister of labour and social security, Karl Samuda, will announce an increase in the minimum wage in April. This was disclosed by minister of finance and the public service, Dr Nigel Clarke, as he opened the 2023/24 budget debate in the House of Representatives, on March 7.
Dr Clarke noted that the government has always prioritised the lives of the Jamaican people, with a view to improving their living standards and to allow them to lead more meaningful lives.
“As such, the last increase under the minimum wage in 2022 was the single largest increase in the entire history of the Minimum Wage Act, moving from $7,000 to $9,000, an increase of 29 percent,” he stated.
The minister noted that as the minimum wage was changed only one year ago, many minimum wage earners are concerned as to whether they will have to wait a year or two years for another increase.
“We know that times are tough, and we know in today’s Jamaica that though there was an increase just a year ago, that $9,000 is an insufficient amount to live on in Jamaica, especially after the inflation shock last year,” Dr Clarke said, adding that the minister is seized of this.
Samuda advised the Standing Finance Committee on March 2, that the report from the National Minimum Wage Advisory Council had been submitted to him.
“The minister of labour is the only person, by law and by convention, who announces the new rate of minimum wage. As such, he will announce the rate…, and when he does so, he will have the concurrence of the cabinet. Minimum wage earners can look forward to a meaningful increase,” Dr Clarke said.