$60,000 national minimum wage to take effect from July 1
Amid finalisation of the increase of the national minimum wage to $60,000 monthly, Government has signalled that it will take effect from July 1, 2022.
An order in the Official Gazette, signed by Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton, officially confirms the increase for employees. It has been made under the Labour Act, in exercising the powers of Section 8.
It indicates that the minimum rate of wages payable to an employee shall not be less than $347 per hour or $2776 per day. This translates to $13,880 weekly and $60,147 monthly.
If a worker is receiving wages higher than prescribed in the order, the employer is required to continuing paying the said worker at that higher rate. It should not be reduced on the account of the new order.
Moreover, the normal work week shall be 40 hours, and shall not exceed five days per week and any hours of work beyond the standard working period shall be paid at the rates set out in the Factories Act and the Labour Act; or any other law or collective bargaining agreement in force.
It has been explicitly stated that any employer that contravenes the provisions of the order shall be liable upon summary conviction to a fine of $50,000 for the first offence. For any second or subsequent office, they will be slapped with a fine of $100,000 or imprisonment for one month.
Categories of workers to benefit from this increase include those in seafood processing, domestic work, internet or café services, call centres, janitorial, schools, hospitals, machine shops, cement factories, auto body shops, wash bays, taxi services, welding, vulcanising, day care, wildlife farms, tour operators, bakeries, filling stations, drug stores, cinemas, sawmills, water factories, scrap metal, radio stations, television stations, casinos, manufacturing, construction, food processing, hospitality, entertainment, ice factories, sanitising, agriculture, retail or wholesale trade, hotels, liquor stores, night clubs, parlours, restaurants, taverns, discotheque, canteens, tailors, security services, garment making among others.
The private sector’s minimum wage was last increased in 2017, from an hourly rate of $202 to $255, taking the monthly wage from $35,000 to the current $44,200.
Shortly after taking office in August 2020, Minister Hamilton had announced the increase of the private sector minimum wage to $60,000. However, while an order to this effect was made, there was no timeline set for its enforcement. This was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on businesses.
When the country began opening up last year, these talks resumed. The Labour Minister had been re-engaging the private sector on enforcing these increases.
The public sector minimum wage currently stands at $70,000, and even with this increase for private sector workers, it would still be less. The private sector’s minimum wage was last increased in 2017, from an hourly rate of $202 to $255, taking the monthly wage from $35,000 to $44,200.
Hamilton had previously explained that this increase to $60,000 would impact about 10 per cent of private sector workers, who are currently being paid below that wage level.
Last year, when Government announced a seven per cent retroactive salary increase for all public sector workers, it sparked conversations about pay in the private sector. In fact, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) had called on private businesses to follow suit in order to attract and retain their workforce. (G12)