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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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The press asked Prime Minister Briceno if his government would forge ahead and implement the increase in minimum wages to 5 dollars an hour by the start of the New Year.

Last week, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry made the point that they agree that the increase should happen. But, they're asking the government to implement it in a phased approach similar to the increase in Social Security contributions. They point out that the financial strain on the private sector would be significant and that a resulting negative consequence is job insecurity for the Belizean laborers who should benefit from this change.

When the press brought that topic up, the PM insisted that his administration will implement the five dollar-an-hour minimum wage increase on January 1st. Here's that conversation:

"The minimum wage, will it be implemented in full in January?"

John Briceno, Prime Minister
"The plan is that we want to implement it on the 1st January in full."

"Sir, the Belize Chamber of Commerce has made a case that look we're going to add 200 million dollars to the wage bill for the private sector overnight with that decision and they are asking a first phase approach."

John Briceno, Prime Minister
"I don't think its overnight, because we've been telling them, in was in PlanBelize and we were telling them over and over this is coming. The minimum wage has not increase in 10 years and we have the issue of inflation and then you have poor people making $3.30 an hour. I'm just appealing to the private sector for them to do their part. They are going to benefit you know, because the more money people have, the more they can spend, the more they can afford to go and buy in their stores. So the private sector they are going to benefit and most businesses are already paying more than $5 per hour than what we are proposing."

"I think of the 100,000 plus workers, about 30,000 are earning less than $5 per hour. So by doing this all of this will be in effect a much needed raise."

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Minimum Wage Increases for All Categories of Workers

The Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government notifies the public that in accordance with the Wages Council (Wages Regulation) (Consolidation) (Amendment) Order, 2022, Statutory Instrument No. 169 of 2022, and Wages Regulation (Manual Workers) (Amendment) Order 2022, Statutory Instrument No. 170 2022, the minimum wage for all categories of workers has increased to $5.00 per hour effective January 1, 2023.

This new increase in the minimum wage is part of the Government of Belize's overall strategy to combat poverty and reduce inequality, as outlined in Plan Belize. Having a minimum wage that allows working-class families the ability to provide a decent life for their families has positive implications for Belize's sustainable development and advances the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically goals 1, 2, 8 and 10, which address poverty alleviation, decent livelihood, decent work and the reduction of inequality. The last increase in the minimum wage occurred in 2012.

With the increase in consumer prices over the last decade and the recent global inflation crisis compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, working-class families have been bearing the brunt of these economic shocks leading many into poverty. The ministry affirms the International Labour Organization's Minimum Wage Policy, which states that "the purpose of minimum wages is to protect workers against unduly low pay. They help ensure a just and equitable share of the fruits of progress to all, and a minimum living wage to all who are employed and in need of such protection." Additionally, this increase in wages will result in tangible benefits for both businesses and workers. An increase in income in the hands of consumers will provide a stimulus to the Belizean economy through increased demand and consumption.

As part of this wage adjustment exercise, the Ministry of Labour is currently reviewing a wage-setting methodology that will be used periodically to determine future minimum wage increases.

The ministry thanks all stakeholders, including the Minimum Wage Task Force, for their engagement in this crucial process.

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