Jamaica’s workers get a significant wage boost

Andrew Holness

In a notable development, Jamaica’s national minimum wage is poised for a significant boost, with a 15 percent increase set to raise it from $13,000 to $15,000 per week for a standard 40-hour work week. This adjustment, slated to come into effect on June 1, 2024, heralds a welcome improvement in the earnings of the country’s lowest-paid workers.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness unveiled this change, marking the culmination of his comprehensive Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives. Holness underscored the government’s dedication to enhancing the financial well-being of its populace as he shared the news.

Furthermore, as part of a broader initiative to standardize the national minimum wage and bridge disparities across various sectors, industrial security guards will also receive a wage adjustment, with their minimum earnings rising to $15,000 per week starting June 1.

This impending increase builds upon a significant adjustment made in the preceding year, when the National Minimum Wage surged by 44 percent from $9,000 to $13,000 per week—an unprecedented hike in two decades. Likewise, wages for industrial security guards saw an increase from $10,500 to $14,000. These adjustments align with the government’s overarching strategy to bolster its workforce amidst escalating living costs.

Prime Minister Holness commended the thoughtful deliberation behind this decision, underscoring the government’s intent to bolster the working class and economically vulnerable segments, ensuring they can keep pace with inflation. This move responds to feedback garnered during the Local Government Election campaign, which brought to the fore the struggles of the working poor, indicating an urgent need for financial relief.