Way cleared for increase in private sector minimum wage


The long-overdue increase in the minimum wage for private-sector workers to $60,000 from $44, 200, has been approved and is expected to be instituted before December ends, the Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton revealed on Wednesday.

Before this latest development, private sector representative bodies and the Ministry of Labour, through the National Tripartite Committee (NTC), were at odds over the decision.

The private sector insisted that setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic were a deterrent to implementing the proposed minimum wage increase but opted to do a review of its membership to determine which sectors would be able to implement the increase in a staggered fashion.

That has now been finalised with Hamilton welcoming the signal of readiness to facilitate the increase.

With the agreement now in place, the NTC, whose life expired over a month ago, will need to be quickly reconvened, the minister explained.

“I am very satisfied because this matter has been long overdue… I suspect the private sector recognised that they have to act on the matter considering the seven per cent increase for public servants and that has now created this new energy,” the Labour Minister told the News Room on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Paul Cheong explained that after conducting the needed “survey”, most of its membership can pay the increase.

The private sector is now “willing and ready” to go ahead with the increase, he assured.

“We believe that people should be paid a reasonable wage,” Cheong told the News Room on Wednesday.

And while some smaller companies still referenced the effects of the pandemic, Cheong asked that they see the increase “as an investment” into their employees and a motivation to improve services.

“See it as an opportunity to get employees to improve their performance, so that they can add more value to the company.”

Increasing the private sector minimum wage has been a heavily ventilated topic. There has been no increase in the minimum wage of $44,200 since 2017. The then Ministry of Social Protection in 2017 increased the minimum wage from $35,000.

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