The minimum wage in Jamaica will increase from seven thousand dollars ($7000) to nine thousand dollars ($9000) effective April 1, Labour and Social Security Minister Karl Samuda made the announcement on Tuesday, February 22.

This is the first increase in nearly four years as the minister says COVID-19 affected their plans for the raise in 2020. He is urging employers to use this rate as the base level and to pay employees more if they can. Security guards will also benefit from the increase, raising their wage from $9700 to $10500 for the same work period. 

Samuda made the announcement at a media briefing on Tuesday after calls for an increase resurfaced, especially given that there has been over a 6% rate of inflation. He says the move has been pending since 2020 but had to be placed on the back burner due to COVID-19. Still, the Minister is urging employers to view this new rate as merely the starting wage, as opposed to the benchmark by which employees should be paid. He admits the increase still fails to meet a liveable wage for Jamaicans. However, the Labour Ministry has other measures in place to assist persons and to aid in improving their quality of life. 

The last minimum wage increase was in 2018 when it went up to $7000 from $6200. Samuda promises the Ministry will not linger to provide another increase in the near future. CVM LIVE’s analysis shows the inflation rate in 2018 was approximately 3.74% with the minimum wage being $7000, while in 2022 it’s over 6% with the new minimum wage of $9000. 

Therefore, the inflation rate is nearly doubled, yet the minimum wage is only being increased by $2000. Secretary at the Jamaica Household Workers Union Elaine Duncan says although this increase is one of the highest that has been seen, she is still not satisfied and doubts this raise will have any major impact in comparison to prior increases.  More details here:

Reporter: Velonique Bowen