Minister of Labour and Social Security, Karl Samuda, has announced a 28.5 per cent increase in the national minimum wage from $7,000 to $9,000 for a 40-hour workweek.
In addition, security guards will receive $10,500, up from $9,700, per 40-hour work-week.
The increases, which were approved by Cabinet on Monday, will come into effect on April 1, Samuda said.
The minimum wage is the least amount of money any employer should pay their worker per week. The current minimum wage was set in 2018.
The new rates are the result of the recommendations from the National Minimum Wage Commission, which conducted public consultations and submitted its recommendations to the ministry from as far back as 2020.
“The fact of the matter is that, at that time, Jamaica was at the stage where the pandemic had set in, and we were losing thousands of jobs because of the challenges that it posed and the decision was taken then that in the face of all those challenges, it would be best to take the necessary action in order to get the labour market back on stream,” said Samuda.
The minister apologised for the delay in the increase, adding that it would have been “wonderful” if the increases were much further.
However, he said the increase depended largely on the pace of the recovery of the Jamaican economy.
“We thank God for the pace it has recovered so far, and we have expectations that things will improve to enable this benefit to be even more meaningful in the near future,” indicated Samuda.