As prime minister Andrew Holness was delivering his presentation at the 2023/24 Budget Debate in Parliament on Thursday, March 16, he announced that from June 1, 2023, the national minimum wage would increase from $9,000 per 40-hour workweek to $13,000 per 40-hour workweek, an increase of 44 about per cent.
As part of his announcement, he also disclosed that the minimum wage for industrial security guards will be increased from $10,500 per week to $14,000 per week, which will also take effect on June 1, 2023. Holness claimed it was the most extensive increase in 20 years.
According to Holness, the government recognizes the importance of minimum wage earners, such as household workers, artisans, labourers, store clerks, and security personnel, which he credited to the achievement of the country’s productivity and service targets for manufacturers, hotel professionals, lawyers, doctors, and teachers.
As announced by the prime minister, his administration is committed to taking action to place minimum wage earners on the right track towards liveable wages, the leader of the JLP explained to parliament members. Holness also detailed that since 2016 the minimum wage has increased from $6,200 to $13,000, which he credited his administration for.
Holness, in his presentation, stated that the $1,000 differential between the national minimum wage and the minimum wage for security guards will be revoked as of the subsequent pay increase. The prime minister also announced plans to increase elderly citizens’ pension scheme.
As he continued his statement, the prime minister noted that Jamaica’s security industry supports all other industries and sectors. However, he said the administration was “deeply saddened” by security guard attacks and the loss of lives on the “front line”.