Jamaica hit by one-year delay for public sector wage increase

Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke during the budget presentation in Parliament on Thursday

Jamaica’s public sector workers will have to wait a year for the implementation of the new wage scale, following a review of the compensation structure completed in December 2020.

Finance Minister Nigel Clarke made the revelation as he tabled the 2021/ 2022 budget on Thursday (February 18) adding that workers are to receive a modest increase in wages this year.

“There have been 130,000 job losses reported as of July 2020…And none of them have come from the public sector.”

– Dr Nigel Clarke

“We have undergone a thorough review and examination of public sector compensation, as we promised we would and we have done it within the timeframe that we promised we would by December of 2020. But Madam Speaker, given the massive impact of the pandemic, we do not have the resources to begin the implementation of the review and finance our recovery at the same time,” said Clarke

“Furthermore, it is critical Madam Speaker that whatever resources we can corral we use this year on vaccines, the distribution of vaccines, and our social and economic recovery, inclusive of jobs and social support for those who have been hardest hit,” added Clarke.

He noted that of the 130,000 job losses reported as of July 2020, none were recorded in the public sector.

“Unlike other countries, Jamaica’s public sector has been largely shielded from the financial impact of the pandemic, thank God. There have been 130,000 job losses reported as of July 2020; some of which have been recovered. And none of them have come from the public sector.”

Clarke said the Government will use the delay to fine-tune the parameters of the restructuring further, adding that the new wage scale would be implemented at the beginning of the next financial year.