PM says minimum wage to increase for public sector

There will be an increase in minimum wage for government employees, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed yesterday.

He was asked about minimum wage in relation to the increased cost of living in the country, as well as plans to add an additional fee to Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) bills.

“What I can also say is the minimum wage that government pays its staff, that will be elevated, but the minister responsible for public service will give more details on that,” Minnis told reporters on the sidelines of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association annual general meeting at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.

“But that would be elevated.”

He said the private sector minimum wage cannot be increased without more consideration.

“No, that would have to be [an] ongoing discussion, because one has to take the other long-term impact into consideration, but the government sector would be elevated,” he said.

Minnis said government employees will also receive a lump sum payment this month.

“What I can say at this particular point in time is that those in the public service, that is immigration, customs, police, defense force, teachers, PHA (Public Hospitals Authority), doctors and nurses, they would receive a lump sum payment in their paycheck the end of this month — $1,400,” he said.

The cost of living has been a public concern for some time in The Bahamas, with residents frequently expressing frustration over increased expenses and stagnant salaries.

According to data from the Department of Statistics, Bahamians are paying more for basic goods and services than they have over the past four years.

Currently, the public sector minimum wage is $210 per week, or $5.25 per hour. It was last increased in 2015 — the same year that value-added tax (VAT) came into effect. In July 2018, the VAT rate increased from 7.5 percent to 12 percent.

When asked about wages in August, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said that the government had not given any “detailed consideration” to increasing the country’s minimum wage. He said that while the government is aware of the public’s concerns over an increasing cost of living, that trend was “evening out”.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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