Industrial Relations consultant supports move to review the national minimum wage

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Industrial relations consultant Anderson Carty
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An industrial relations consultant said the time has long passed for a revision of the national minimum wage, but cautioned the timing as it could have an impact on businesses that are struggling to stay afloat.

Anderson Carty told Observer the government should first look at the conditions that now obtain to determine whether or not some employers will have the ability to pay.

“At the end of the day, wage increase is subjected to the employer’s ability to pay and given the adverse economic condition created by Covid, I am sure some employers are compromised,” Carty explained.

Labour Minister Steadroy Benjamin told Observer yesterday that a committee will be established within a month to examine the pros and cons associated with increasing the national minimum wage which has been set at $8.50 an hour since 2015.

This follows calls from General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) David Massiah, who wrote to Benjamin on two occasionsrecently urging the prompt establishment of a National Minimum Wage Advisory Committee.

 Massiah said he was concerned that the real wage for vulnerable employees – particularly those in the security, retail, domestic, and other sectors – had diminished substantially due to soaring prices coupled with an increase in Social Security contributions.

The union boss also outlined that the creation of the said committee is in accordance with sections C21 and 22 of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code.

Meanwhile, Carty stated that while most employers adhere to the rules, there are some still paying staff less than their legal entitlement. He said when they are caught, they should be forced to make retroactive payments.

“There are also some non-nationals who are also working and because they are subject to a work permit, they make very little noise when they are underpaid,” Carty said.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Three things: (1) No employer should be exempt from paying its employees less than minimum wage.
    (2) Any employer found to be in violation of that should be (a) fined a minimum of $2,500.00
    per violation and (b) given a 3 month period of time in which to reimburse affected employees
    wages lost via said infraction.
    (3) Once it is determined that there will be an increase in the minimum wage no employer can
    be exempted. But, as the article indicates, timing is going to be of the essence.

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