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Bahamas Government Increases National Minimum Wage by 40 Percent
By Lindsay Thompson, BIS
Jul 23, 2015 - 11:07:22 PM

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NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Government has moved to increase the national minimum wage by 40 percent, the Minister of Labour and National Insurance and the Minister of the Public Service the Hon. Shane Gibson officially announced in a Communication in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pursuant to Section 4(3) of the Minimum Wage Act, Chapter 321C, in his capacity as Minister with responsibility for Labour, Mr. Gibson signed the Minimum Wages Order to increase the minimum wage to $210 per week or $42 per day or $5.25 per hour.

“I am very pleased to publicly announce and formally communicate to Parliament that the Government of the Bahamas, acting on a recommendation from the National Tripartite Council, has taken a decision to increase the National Minimum Wage,” Mr. Gibson said.

This comes into effect August 15, 2015, once approved by the House of Assembly and the Senate.

Once the National Tripartite Council Act 2014 was enacted on June 1, 2015, the National Tripartite Council held its inaugural meeting during which the Government and its social partners discussed matters pertinent to the welfare of workers in the country. At the table were members of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, the National Congress of Trade Unions, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Trade Union Congress.

Also, Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling on March 2, 2015 signed into law the National Tripartite Council Act, 2014, as part of the Government’s plans to improve the quality of life for Bahamian workers.

On January 21, 2002, some 13 years ago, the National Minimum Wage was statutorily enacted, making it law that no person employed in the country be paid less than $150 per week or $30 per day or $4 per hour.

“The new minimum wage is a 40 percent increase, and while we in the government would have liked to have seen it a bit higher, we have accepted the recommendation of the National Tripartite Council and acted accordingly,” Mr. Gibson said.

He said he was told that the council “deliberated, agonized and analyzed” data acquired locally and internationally as well as compared legislation from a number of CARICOM members states before coming to agreement on a final figure for the new national minimum wage.

Additionally, the council will monitor the cost of living and the retail price index and is prepared to recommend additional increases to ensure that weekly wage of Bahamian workers is able to keep pace with any increase in these indexes, Mr. Gibson said.

He noted that despite “false rumours” that an increase in the minimum wage will lead to higher levels of unemployment, the Government’s research has confirmed the opposite.

And, he cautioned “unscrupulous employers” who would try to undermine the increase and deliberately and intentionally withhold the increment from “hard working Bahamians” that the Inspectorate Unit of the Department of Labour have been instructed to implement a comprehensive inspection plan to ensure that there is compliance and will aggressively pursue violators and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.

FULL COMMUNICATION: The Bahamas Increases National Minimum Wage

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