Jun 01, 2019 News
Minimum wage in the private sector is set to receive another boost as consultations for an increase progress.
The Ministry of Social Protection’s Labour Department is currently engaging employers and unions to increase the minimum wage from the current $44,200.
According to the Ministry yesterday, in January 2017, the private sector’s minimum wage was increased from an hourly rate of $202 to $255 taking the monthly wage from $35,000 to $44,200.
Consultant of the Labour Department at the Ministry, Francis Carryl, explained that the economy is vastly changing and another increase is crucial at this time.
“We’re not sure when the consultations will be completed, but we are working assiduously to raise the private sector’s minimum wage, to bring it up to speed with the 2019 economic circumstances. We don’t want to excite anyone, but all the parties including the unions, employers and the government are interested with what has been brought to the table. As soon as the consultations are completed, we will announce the increase,” Carryl related.
Meanwhile, the Labour Department said it has recorded notable achievements during the first quarter.
Senior Labour Officer, Dexter Semple, said this includes the establishment of three new offices in Regions Two, Eight and Nine, which will help the residents to access services on a regular basis.
Outreaches were conducted in those regions to raise awareness about the labour laws and responsibilities of employers and employees under the labour laws.
Additionally, to date, the Labour Department has investigated in excess of 500 complaints and conducted about 300 to 400 workplace inspections.
Semple noted that during the inspections some persons who were caught in violation of the labour laws were sensitised and given opportunities to make corrections. On the other hand, others were placed before the court.
Further, the Labour Department has conducted several weekly workplace workshops where employers and employees were educated on their responsibilities and duties and were also introduced to the Decent Work Country Programme which Guyana signed on to at the end of 2018.
Currently, the Department is continuing its collaboration with the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) for the transformation from an informal to formal economy.
“We meet persons operating in the forest sector, including loggers, coals operators; whose work are not in the formal setting, and therefore, they are not paying National Insurance Scheme (NIS) taxes, or are not registered in any regulatory body. This has to change, so we have been engaging them and showing them the pros and cons of being formalised. This is ongoing with the help of NIS and the Guyana Revenue Authority,” Semple explained.
The Department’s greatest limitation is the lack of cooperation by employers who refuse to attend workshops and meetings when necessary. In this regard, the Department is working on having a law in place to make the attendance necessary.
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