David Wan, president of the Employers Federation of Jamaica, says businesses are concerned by the Opposition People’s National Party’s call for a 60 per cent increase in the minimum wage.
Currently, the minimum wage is $7,000 per week but the PNP wants this to be increased to $12,500.
“A lot of the micro and small employers have some concerns about the impact on their ability to keep all the employees they have at the minimum wage if the minimum wage is raised too far,” he said.
He added: “There’s genuine concerns from micro employers in rural areas that it may cause them to have to cut down on employment at that level.”
Wan told BUZZ that his federation has been meeting with businesses all over the country. And the next step will be to meet with Trade Unions, and the Government before giving a recommendation to the Minister of Labour to be tabled in Parliament.
“The employees at that level are going to want the largest possible increase, the employers are going to want something that will be comfortable for them to keep their businesses going, and keep their employers. And the inflation rate is also an important thing that tells us how much the basic goods and services went up by,” he added.
Meanwhile, president of the Small Businesses Association, Hugh Johnson, believes that small businesses can facilitate an increase. “It will have an impact upon their operation expenses, but we have gotten a little reprieve in days gone by with the minimum business tax being removed and the GCT threshold being lifted. With all of those I think accommodation can be made,” he said.
The minimum wage is due a review every two years. It was last increased in 2018 to $7000 from $6,200.