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Long awaited increase in minimum wage to be implemented this year, in phases beginning July 1st

Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2022. 11:15 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: During today’s budget debate in the House of Representatives, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Cordel Hyde, informed that “the long awaited adjustment in the minimum wage will take place this year, July 1st”. According to Minister Hyde there will be “no more starvation wages for our workers” and that it is “all about having a living wage”. The DPM said he could not comprehend how is it possible for an employee to be working full time and still be living in poverty.

While the increase in minimum wage will take place on July 1st, 2022, it will be implemented on a phased basis, “two years ahead of schedule”, reported Minister Hyde.

Currently the minimum wage is $3.30 per hour and was phased in over five years between 2007 and May 8, 2012 when the last raise took effect. It has remained the same ever since until this current review that is now leading to a July 1st adjustment.

Under its Plan Belize bandwagon, the Briceno administration committed to increase the minimum wage to $5 per hour and a Minimum Wage Task Force was appointed on March 1st, 2022, to oversee its implementation. The Task Force is chaired by Cindy Thompson representing the University of Belize, and includes members: Daniel Gutierrez, Consultant to the National Gas Company Limited and representing the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Carlesha Francisco of the National Bank of Belize; Fayne Nicasio representing the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development; Luke Martinez, President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and representing labour, trade unions, and civil society; Candice Soutar of the Central Bank of Belize; and Labour Commissioner Anne Marie Thompson, representing the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government. These span workers, employers, and the government.

In a release sent out in early March on the appointment of the Task Force, government indicated that it was cognizant that “any increase to the present minimum wage would have implications for various sectors. As a result, the phased minimum wage increases must be linked to productivity growth and Belize’s competitiveness. With stakeholder input, careful consideration will be given to the impact of these increases on the various sectors of the economy in the short-, medium- and long-term.”


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