STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE LORNA SMITH, OBE
DEPUTY PREMIER AND MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES, LABOUR AND TRADE
9 NOVEMBER 2023
Advisory Committee To Review Minimum Wage
I am happy to announce that the Ministry of Financial Services, Labour and Trade has established an ad hoc advisory committee to review the minimum wage in the Virgin Islands.
As we are all aware, the minimum wage in the Virgin Islands was last increased on 1 October 2016, from $4.00 per hour to $6.00 per hour. A 2022 review of Social Assistance in the Virgin Islands by the Social Policy Research Institute observed that the minimum wage is well below what is now needed to survive in our Territory.
The researchers cautioned, however, that the rate by which the minimum wage can be adjusted, must take into account economic factors and constraints.
As I have been pondering the best way forward, I have determined that the most effective approach is to establish an advisory committee to undertake a review of what the most appropriate level of the minimum wage should be.
The Government is conscious of the many economic challenges the people of the BVI are currently facing. We must all put our shoulder to the wheel; government, employers and employees to ensure that individuals on low incomes do not bear a greater share of the burden than they should. The review will be comprehensive, transparent, and involve the expertise of a diverse range of stakeholders to ensure inclusive participation and perspective. Importantly, the ad-hoc Committee will report by the end of March 2024.
The minimum wage advisory committee is being established in accordance with Part III of the Virgin Islands Labour Code, 2010. The advisory committee will comprise of representatives from a diverse range of sectors, including our key economic sectors, employers, employees, Sister Island representatives and youth.
The committee will have access to technical support from economists, statisticians, financial analysts, and other government officials and our development partners. This expertise will support the committee in assessing and analysing complex data, develop and evaluate policy options, and make informed recommendations.
The Committee is expected to complete its review and submit its final report to me as the subject Minister within four months of its inaugural meeting, which is scheduled for late November.
It is important to note that the review of the Minimum Wage is only one part of a wider assessment by the Government of how we can address the cost of living across the Virgin Islands. We know our people need to be better supported and I expect to make further announcements on this in the near future.
Later today a press release giving more information on the Minimum Wage Committee will be published on the Government’s Website. The members of the Committee will be included in this press release.
I want to take this opportunity to thank each of the members for their willingness and commitment to serve in this capacity.
I, thank you.