Minimum Wage, Minimum Wage – Can You Ever Pay Someone To Keep In Line With Jamaica’s Economy????

Is it possible for us to discuss certain key elements to income earning as we focus on minimum wage? How about the ‘value’ as it relates to productivity? How about seeing yourself being a minimum wager as a temporary position? We are hopefully talking about a range of persons who are over 18 years old and under 70 years old?

If you are a minimum wage earner, do you recognize that your social behaviour will also dictate as to not only your affordability of goods and services, rather maintenance of such and elevating yourself from that position? Who decides whether or not you upgrade yourself, supplement your income by way of part time entrepreneurship endeavours? How many children do you think you should bring into this world as a minimum wager without any family support mechanism in place?   This is not the 1940’s – 1960’s.  Do you believe that the Government has a responsibility to maintain the choices you have made as a minimum wager in growing your family beyond what you can afford?

The opportunity exits for those who are most productive due to their age to seek options to increase their income and live within their means. This is Jamaica not the United States of America and one must be extremely careful when we start to compare dollar for dollar with respect to minimum wage. If we go down that path then let us compare dollar for dollar for food, clothing, motor vehicles, public health, education etc , population, etc. I will pose this question to the minimum wage earner, how much would be enough for you to earn weekly? When we move this wage from its current position to what is recommended and then finally to the J$12,000.00 that is floating on the streets; what do you think will be the impact on skilled workers within the workforce and their earnings? What will be the impact on certified workers who many believe they are not being paid enough based on their degrees, masters and years of experience?

I believe in fairness, while at the same time, there has to be a level of understanding that you can be paid so much and no more based on your skills, productivity and value within an 8hr period. You must understand if you want more you must be prepared to do more and to elevate yourself in order to become more marketable.

As it relates to security guards.   There are levels of security guards I expect. By that I mean those armed and those who are not. Those whose lives are placed at a higher risk must be on a higher salary scale. Those who provide security at certain establishments I would opine earn more. So the dialogue should be for our people to see themselves higher than the ‘ground’ irrespective of their social environment. In this day and age where many of the said minimum wagers are aufait with technology, they too must see the opportunities in this ever changing world. It is not the world it once was 40 years ago. Where you begin in life you do not necessarily have to remain. We cannot continue to have this dialogue that based on the cost of living, salaries ought to increase whether minimum wager or not. We must have the conversation re your value to the work place. What have you really accomplished within an 8hr period? Out of the 8hrs, how many is spent on idle distractions? How much is really spent on accomplishing a task? Your pay must be in direct proportion to your ‘value’ at the job at hand.

Neither government, nor employer will ever be able to pay another based on their social behaviours which affect their ‘lot’ in life or better still certification. Certification should entitle you to a minimum once you get through the doors. Now that minimum has to be negotiated based on some factors. I believe government, private sector, the Church and other entities should send home the message that the opportunities must be created; entrepreneurship must be encouraged if it is even on a part time basis. Social responsibility which encompasses family values, living within your means as you aspire for more. Extending your family as your income grows not the other way around. It is certainly not your right to bring 2, 3, 4, 5 children into this world as a single parent living on minimum wage. Such behaviour cannot be the fault of the government nor the employer, it is purely your own.

There are success stories of many persons moving from minimum wage to an income that afford them a life devoid of entitlement. Minimum wage must be fair indeed, but be careful of selling unreal expectations on what it MUST be when in reality it can only be a minimum based on the value you really add within that 8hr period. You cannot be paid an hourly rate that is commensurate to skilled workers or certified workers, I reiterate.

Who knows, the time may be drawing close, where ALL workers minimum wagers, security guards, office/corporate workers below the level of executive management be paid based on their performance. Do you really produce 8 hours a day excluding your lunch break? There is a thing called performance related pay. If the truth be told, there maybe many minimum wagers, security guards, and office personnel who will end up earning far less than they presently earn if that was in force throughout our industries.


New minimum wage takes effect tomorrow

(Jamaica Observer) Monday, February 29, 2016 | 6:20 PM     18 Comments

Minister of Labour and Social Security Dr Fenton Ferguson (file photo)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The recently announced increases in the national minimum wage and the minimum wage for industrial security guards take effect tomorrow.

The national minimum wage will be increased from $5,600 to $6,200 per 40-hour work week.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security said Monday that, arising from national minimum wage increase, the new hourly rate for the national minimum wage is $155; the time and half rate is $232.50, and the double time rate will be increased to $310.

The minimum wage for industrial security guards will be increased from $204.97 per hour for a 40-hour work week (single-time rate) or $8,198 weekly to $221.35 per hour for a 40-hour work week or $8,854 weekly.

The ministry said that for security guards, the time and a half rate would be increased to $332.03 while the double time rate is now $442.70.

Allowances for security guards will also be increased. The laundry allowance for will be increased from $37.30 per hour to $40.30 per hour; firearm premium allowance will move from $41.00 per hour to $44.30 per hour; while the dog handler’s premium allowance will be increased from $27.58 per hour to $29.80 per hour.

According to the ministry, the insurance coverage payable on account of security guards who are killed or injured in the line of duty will also be increased from $2,000,000 to $2,500,000.

The release said the minimum wage was recommended by the Minimum Wage Advisory Commission, following general consultations as provided for under the Minimum Wage Act.

“The amount represents the minimum rates for groups of wage earners who do not have the bargaining power to negotiate for fair wages,” the ministry said.

The Advisory Commission is comprised of representatives of the government, trade unions and employers’ groups, and is mandated to review the rates annually.

The national minimum wage was last increased in January 2014.

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