Minimum wage

| 04/06/2013

I don't think the pros and cons of a minimum wage have been well discussed in Cayman. I have an opinion but I haven't seen a good logical argument made for either side of the debate. Perhaps this is a good time to start. My quick and somewhat disorganized opinions: A livable minimum wage will have no negative effect on our ability to compete for foreign income, i.e. offshore finance, tourism, hospitality, property management, construction.

It might increase our cost of living but when slavery was abolished the cost of living increased as well. It doesn’t make sense and it isn’t right that we should impoverish a quarter of our citizens so that the rest of us can save on our living and business expenses.

The cost of business goes up almost every year, yet entry-level wages are stagnant and mid-level wages are dropping. Obviously business is reducing its wage and salary expenses while the overall cost of living is increasing. The problem that we have with minimum wage levels will also affect the mid-level incomes soon. Thus, we are headed for ever-increasing levels of poverty. Expect the local residential real estate market to crash as well.

Mostly this is because there is no labour market competition in Cayman. Wages at the entry level and mid-level are lower now then they were 30 years ago when we had full Caymanian employment. Is there a connection between the 7,000 unemployed Caymanians and the unsustainable wage structure that exists in Cayman today?

Government is subsidizing the labour intense businesses in Cayman by enabling them to pay an unlivable wage (for Caymanians) to foreign workers while it supports the un- and under-employed through its social services programs.

If more Caymanians were working for more money then government would be spending less on social services. Caymanian wages are spent in Cayman, not sent overseas.

There are 75 million unemployed, educated, young people on the planet earth. Most would find Cayman’s low wage structure attractive compared to the situation that they face at home. With an open workpermit policy and no minimum wage, Caymanians must compete with a global labour force. It’s not too difficult to see who is winning and who is losing in this competition.

The ultra-low wages paid to foreign work permit holders still enables them to save enough money over seven years to buy a home in their native country. If there weren’t enough value at this level they wouldn't be here. Work permit fees for entry level jobs are in the $1,000 p/a range. What would change if they were $10,000 p/a?

Caymanians can't live and also save any money for a home in Cayman at the entry wage level paid to foreign workers. So we have displaced Caymanians' employment with a global labour force that gets much more value from their wages than a Caymanian does. A cheap undeveloped house lot in Cayman costs much more than a finished large 2-story fully furnished home in India or the Philippines. So the foreign worker making a straight $5 per hour for a 60 hour week is happy and a Caymanian would complain about the lack of overtime. A level playing field is also needed.

An entry level wage is suppose to be just that — entry level. After the new trainee gets some experience they expect to move up to the next level, eventually progressing to an income level that will support them and their family.

Cayman’s entry-level wage remains unchanged and employees don’t progress because local businesses don’t need to train or offer incentives to keep good employees. They just replace them from the global labour pool. Even a foreign worker who gets “rolled over” simply recommends a friend or relative replacement for the job.

OK, I’m sure there are a lot more “opinions”.  Let's make sure that we consider the entire labour situation in Cayman. For example, if we let foreign workers opt out of paying pension it will be come even cheaper for a business to hire a work permit holder than a Caymanian. Creating disincentives for Caymanian hiring, employment and advancement is what we are very good at, even if it isn't our intension.

My father often quoted the expression: “The road to hell is paved with good intensions.” Every decision that we have made in Cayman over the last 40 years has had unintended consequences, Maybe it's time to really examine Caymanian employment — all aspects of it — and make good policies and better decisions. Businesses will just have to pay more for employees. They pay more for everything else.

We wouldn’t be discussing the need for a minimum wage if we had more labour competition, just as we had in the 70s and 80s. Of course, work permits were so restrictive then that only the connected got them and a lot of businesses simply closed. So maybe favoritism is the cause of all of our problems.

What are we going to do about it? Who’s going to do it and how is it going to get done? Something to think about.

Related Viewpoint on CNS:

What will a minimum wage achieve? by 101

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The introduction of a minimum wage will drive up the cost of business. As prices rise, less customers will buy the product or serivce. or can afford the increased price. They go elsewhere., meaning less business is done, leading to fewer jobs. Look what happens every time the CIG hike the annual fee for a company. We lose another chunk of companies which migrate to a less expensive jurisdiction. Yet in the last 15 years we have drive up costs everywhere and now can’t understand why we don’t get any business, which all goes elsewhere.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A very touchy subject indeed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is well know that a direct consequence of 'minimum wage legislation' is the reduction of employment opportunities for the young and inexperienced workers.  Our young people are struggling enough as it is to get any opportunities, it woud be extremely unfortunate to reduce this further.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The subject of 'Minimum Wage Legislation' has been studied by Nobel Laureat ecomomist George Stigler who found that (1) such legislation does NOT diminish poverty and (2) there aremore efficient alternatives. See 'The Economics of Minimum Wage Legislation' at:- http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1801842?uid=3738408&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21102380650387

    Other economic studies showing the negative effects of minimum wage legislation can be found here:http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1086/209972?uid=3738408&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21102297167061 and http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1881796?uid=3738408&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21102297167061

    • Dennis Smith says:

      The problem with studies done elsewhere is that their labour market doesn’t compete with a global unemployed labour force. In the US for example an employer can't hire the cheapest basic labour from any country in the world, apply for a visa and get it almost overnight and then put that person to work for 7 years. Try getting any job in the US without qualifications and a long wait for your visa. It also needs to be renewed after 2 years and you better hire a lawyer because classifications and rules are always changing.

      Cayman Immigration is much cheaper, more accommodating and more willing to displace its nationals with imported low paid foreign employees. So when you quote studies done in other labour markets you need to be careful to compare Apples to Apples. I don't think any other country in the world is as willing to let it a global labour force displace its local population as Cayman is.

      If we had to employ Caymanians a minimum wage wouldn’t be needed. Supply and demand would dictate the market price for Caymanian labour and employers would fight to train and keep their employees. All of that has been lost because we simply by-pass the Caymanian and hire from overseas.

      • Anonymous says:

        XXXX What I would like to see is that you encourage people to just work or get educated. The real fact  is that there are a handful of the same person on the labour board list. The same people that you would wonder if the labour board was "fe real" or if they read your requirements. I have to ask you for argument sake. If the minimum wage was to be implemented for the rate of ci$5.00 which is the silent rate that employers use. How would it help the Caymanian people. ? There would be a flood of people that can calculate what the minimum pay would be and head this way.

        What about education, are the people being educated? have you heard this children how they talk to grown ups with the bad slang and thinking that is caymanian? I am waiting for the day that I can have a person sent from Labor Board and when I ask for a Caymanian, I get a caymanian. A short skirt and a few text back and forth go a long way to get a good contact at labour board to hook you up not matter if you caymanian or not. XXX They want more salary for less work. any educated person can get a Job in cayman.

        How is it possible that people that claim to have experience and are suposed to be caymanians cannot even speak english properly?, or cant even give a ci$ change from a us$ 20$ bill.  What we can start with is a basic test for each person to do while being interveiwed. a standard test. Each employer can change the numbers to suit. MINIMUM WAGE IS NOT THE ANSWER, EDUCATING THE WORK FORCE AND CUTTING THEM OFF THE HANDOUTS, THEN YOU SEE AFTER A WHILE HOW THEY WOULD LOVE THAT ci$8 to ci$10 per hour. because then they will also know how much it is worth.

        Do you think its fun to have to bend over and take it starting at the counter when you paying, god forbid you did not put n/a or did not dot the i on the form. then have to be discriminated on, and pay such high fees, after still have to bend over again for the board. Tell me what employer would want to go through that year after year. why is it that the word "EDUCATION" makes everyone that dont have it complain about being predujice? What about putting in a hard days work to feed the family ?

        I repeat, big hard back men and women driving around all day and in the salons taking that they not going work for so and so. Why do employers have to accept the leftovers, why cant we have a standard for being employable in the Cayman Islands. Yes lets set the Minimum Wage to ci$10 per hour, Minimum education is college graduates. Must be able to pass the basic test required by law to receive the minimum wage. Caymanians need only apply, Just in case one of those educated nanny tried to apply.

      • Anonymous says:

        Any increased leverage on the employment of Caymanians would be extremely inflationary.

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Dennis, your generalisations are beguiling; however, if your point is valid, gross overstatement should not be required to drive it home. You must admit that it is nothing more than hyperbole to imply that local workers compete with "a global unemployed labour force". Would you care to explain what is meant by the term? Are you implying that all the workers who come here are among the "unemployed" in their home country?  It is an interesting hypothesis, as Commander Data would say. But do you really believe that?

        Take a look at the unemployment rates of the countries from which we import a goodly number of our imported labourers:
        Jamaica – 14.2%
        Philippines – 7.1%
        Honduras – 4.4%
        USA – 7.6%
        UK – 7.8%
        The average is 7.48% or just 1.18% points higher than the Cayman Islands. Not exactly rampant unemployment.

        You state that "If we had to employ Caymanians a minimum wage wouldn't be needed." Do you really believe that  as a solution? If you do believe that statement, then why take the circuitous route of  implementing a minimum wage to elevate the status of Caymanian workers?

        Why fight so hard to reinvent the wheel when we have the legislation in place now to enforce the employment of all reasonably employable Caymanians?

        You are quick to identify the problem – allegedly that Caymanian businesses are remiss in preferring foreign workers and that Immigration is not doing its job in rectifying the problem, resulting in the displacement of Caymanians by imported workers. Why do you ignore the better solution of remedying the root of the root cause that you have identified?

        Why go off on a campaign for a minimum wage as the solution?  I would rather see problem nipped in the bud. Wouldn't you?   If policy  and enforcement is the problem, why should we not hold our government responsible and demand more stringent work permit and immigration policies and strict enforcement? I doubt that you and I would be debating anything if your war cry was for more stringent labour policies that would result in the employment of more Caymanians.

        The unemployment rate in the Cayman Islands (where you alleged that local workers are displaced because they have to "compete with a global unemployed labour force") is 6.3%. That is significantly  less than the U.S. whose immigration policies you suggest are so protective of its local labour force.  According to U.S. government statistics there were 25 million foreign persons working in the U.S. labor force, comprising 16.1 percent of the total number.

        Your goal of greater employment among Caymanians is admirable. But are you telling us that our current rate of unemployment is unduly high? (Bear in mind that a major part of our labour force is employed in the very economically sensitive and fickle tourist and construction industries and that both industries have suffered considerably due to the sluggish global economy.)

        This is a most important question: Since a major portion of your moot focuses on labour supply and demand, in your opinion what is good sustainable target unemployment rate?

        One last question: Do you espouse a "minimum wage" according to the established models? Or do you espouse a "living wage; one in which Caymanian families may actually escape poverty and live with pride and dignity?

        Here is reality: According to the figures, not all is as gloomy as you make it out to be. You claim skill at accounting, forsake the hyperbole and give us some empirical evidence and I might be convinced you are on to something.

         

  5. Anonymous says:

    Assume there are 2000 unemployed Caymanians who would jump at the chance to earn $7.80 per hour. Their combined annual income would be close to 40 million per year which would stay here instead of being sent to families overseas. 40 million would recirculate throughout our economy producing income for businesses and tax revenue for government.

     

    Currently most of this money is earned by work permit holders who sent most of their income away, never to be seen again in our ecomomy.

     

     

     

    • Just Sayin' says:

      Your point became invalid he minute you assumed there were 2000 unemployed Caymanians who actually want to work at all.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What’s with the “helper” thing. As ifhaving a helper equates to having food. I lived in the United States for years, raised three children and both my husband and I worked full time. We couldnt afford any home help. Our children went to public schools and we had to use day care and after school programmes. I did my own laundry and cleaning (that’s not to say that everything was always the way we would’ve have liked) and as the children grew they were assigned age appropriate chores.

    What’s wrong with us? Are we going to say that because a large percentage of the work force won’t be able to afford a helper, then our people must continue to be unemployed and sink lower and lower into poverty? This argument is becoming so lame. Cut the garment according to the cloth and learn to do something for yourselves!! We have morphed into a society that believes that we must have someone do for us what we don’t want to for ourselves – like clean, cook, laundry, raise our children, wash our brand new cars etc. GET REAL.

    • Anonymous says:

      The proof of the pudding is in how did your kids turn out?  Were you and your husband so stressed that you did not have the energy to enjoy your kids. Cayman does not necessarily want its kids to grow up as overstressed Americans.  We want to maintain our easygoing sense of humour that attracts so many to our Island.  There is no magic to this.  We allow the village to help raise us which means that we allow the parents to have some help  so that they can enjoy spending time with their kids over a home cooked meal.  

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Gee. I can recall the time when that "home cooked meal" was lovingly cooked and served by a parent and not a "helper". And I can recall that the times schoolwork permitted, the children also helped cook and serve family meals and assisted with many houshold chores. My how far we have come! Ain't progress grand?

    • Anonymous says:

      Is the daycare and afterschool program open 9pm?  United States have a lot of options for child care that the Cayman Islands don't have.  Little Cayman doesn't have a daycare or afterschool program.  Cayman Brac has a daycare with limited hours and the afterschool program doesn't run all the time.  What about summer time? Where do they go then?

      • Dennis Smith says:

        Sounds like a new business opportunity to me.

        My wife Barbara had a "Kiddy Ranch" in GT 40 years ago. Business was good. Maybe it couldn't compete with the $3:00 to $4.00 per hour paid for housekeeper/nanny jobs on the Island today. By the way I thought that those nanny/childcare jobs needed training and qualifications like first aid, swimming and driving. What happened to those requirements? Did they get in the way of cheap employment?

        Now the housewives just hire a housekeeper and then gives her the kids to look after as well? Nobody fallows the rules anymore and then they complain about paying a minimum wage as well. It as if being well off or having a descent job or a business makes the person superior to those less able, educated or fortunate. What a load of crap.

        I'm sure that if the minimum wage was the reason why people couldn't raise their children that a lot of new child care businesses would start up to fill the gap. Besides what are we talking about here? Another $50 or $80 dollars per week? Come on, that's a tank of gas or a trip to the movies.

        Caymanian residents and businesses have really revealed how malicious, mean and stingy they are on this thread. Did I say stupid as well? Given how often they repeat that the cost of living will effect them, how selfish, me, me, mine.  What about the people who can't live on $200 per week? Are they out of sight out of mind – Caymanian, Jamaican, Honduran trash living on the outskirts of our civilization? Are we really civilized?

  7. Anonymous says:

    If the overarching obective is to elevate the standard of living in Cayman then, rather than a minimum wage approach how about putting quotas on (or even designating certain jobs as 'Caymanian only' ) certain categories of jobs by not giving work permits for them. These would include; bar tenders, waiters, taxi drivers shop assistants, cashiers and real estate agents.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Young couples raising children are already under tremedous stress and need our support. We should at least consider that the children they are raising will determine the future of Cayman and help them to provide those children with the best opportunities possible. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Minimum wage would have to extend to domestic helpers otherwise it would be unconstitutional. see:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-21920811

    • Anonymous says:

      That may be correct but the link you provided does not show that at all.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Lets pretend that yesterday all the caymanians were totally trained, skilled and overqualified to do every job in Cayman . How much do you think you should pay them? Should they for instance have enough money to pay for rent, elect,water,food,clothing ,bus fare?? Should they have a law that says no kids unless they are making XXXX amount of money? Will the amount of money offered allow them to go out once a month to a rest., or a movie, or a ice cream? Can they have TV? What about medical ins., most of them don't cover dental and eyeglasses. 

    Cuba is bad but not this bad. They believe in free housing , free medical,dental and eyeglasses. Thats a communist country. So are we trying to compete??

  11. Anonymous says:

    Minimum wage shouldnot be seen as an economic tool.

    A minimum wage is there for the worker, not to be abused by a greedy businessman, who doesn't want to drive an old corolla.

    Since government consists of and is controlled by the same businessmen, nothing will happen, other than an endless discussion about pros and cons.

    If a couple makes (2 x 5 =) 10 $ an hour, they make 1600 a month. MInus 1000 on rent, 200 on utilities, no kids, but 200 on monthly transportation costs, then there is 200 $ left to eat from. That is a horrible life.

    Their employer needs to have a bmw and the kids have to go to privat school, a nanny, a helper and the wife needs money to shop every day, so they "can't afford to pay their workers more".

    Wealth is something you should share . . . . .

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope. My wealth, for me and mine. It is important for the lower tiers to have reasonably unpleasant lives as that drives productivity and modern market economies.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Will minimum wages extend to helpers?  If so, this will create a tremendous burden on young families which are already struggling with school fees, mortgages, utilities etc.  If they can no longer afford a helper then one of the earners will have to reduce their working hours to be with the children.  The fall out of a minimun wage on familie could be horrendous.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your right!  This will create a tremendous burder on the intitled.  Imagine haveing to deal with your own children all day long?  And clean your own house.  Wow!  At least you will still have your gas cards.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am tying to imagine "haveing a burder on the intitled" but as English is my first language, I will need some more help as to what the poster meant.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder how it works in other countries where full time helpers are not the norm! Still, people manage to have children and make it. In my experience, some "young" families just may have to make a decision whether they want to drive a brand new SUV or whether they want to have a helper.

      Also, I paid my helper CI$150/week 14 years ago. I can't believe that this is still the salary some helpers make today. Who ever pays such a lousy wage should be ashamed of themselves. If you can't afford to have a helper then learn to do without!

      • Anonymous says:

        My father and I worked this out years (20) ago and found that a live in helper actually costs over $1000 a month.  They don't have to buy anything except their personal items like deodorant.  They get free t.v., free room and board, free food, water, electricity, etc.  I think that $1000 a month was a conservative figure.  We had a helper that almost ate us out of the house.  She ate enough for two men.  A live in helper now probably costs about $4000 a month.  Ubnfortunately, some people take advantage but for some, there is no other option if they need to work.

         

        I think that we need to be more considerate to everyone.  If the minimum wage is increased maybe the employers of the helpers will be making more money as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      So, it is acceptable to placea helper in indentured slavery because the parents have chosen to have kids that they can't afford?

      • Anonymous says:

        "Indentured Slavery" ??????, really.  No one forces these helpers to come here and work for these "shameful" wages.  They do it on their own free will, gladly, because it is much better than what they can make in their home country.  What would be the upside of imposing a minimum wage on helpers?  The result won't be that they would all make better money, the result would be there will be much fewer of them employed and families would be forced to devote that time to doing those duties themselves, as opposed to working and earning wages to try and cope with very high cost of living here.  Do you really believe that Caymanians will fill these positions,  really?  People supporting this idea say that it would benefit these poor helpers when in reality it will simply put most them out of work and force them to return to their home countries where their job oppurtunities and earning potential is much, much more limited.  Consider also that a lot of these helpers are compensated indirectly with on site accomadations, use of a vehicle, phone, internet, etc.  How would that be accounted for?

    • Anonymous says:

      There are no school fees for Caymanian children in government schools. The government schools at all levels are good so there is no reason for Caymanians to not send their children to govement school. Sending them to expensive private schools is their choice and if the minimum wage comes in and they cant afford the helper and the private school fees – so what – send your kids to the free government schools.

  13. Dennis Smith says:

    I had add to add this:

    For employers who think that having a minimum wage is some form of restriction or protectionism and that the Caymanian worker should compete against the global labour market, I have a workable solution.

    Lets remove all of the protections that we enforce against global businesses that want to move to Cayman and let them apply for local trade and business licenses and compete against any of our local enterprises. Removing protectionism for local businesses would stimulate business competition and greatly reduce our cost of living

    This would stimulate massive inward investment and give us a dynamic wide-open economy. No 60% Caymanian ownership requirement needed and no fronting opportunities.

    Of course we would demand that they train and hire Caymanian workers as part of the privilege of being in Cayman. This would solve our employment and training problem and get rid of the current crop of irresponsible businesses that don't care enough to hire and train and pay for Caymanian employees.

    Someone criticized me for not offering a solution. This should do the trick. The shoe is on the other foot now.

    PS I’m not anti-business but I’m not anti-Caymanian either.

    • Anonymous says:

      Before asking anyone else to just do it why don't you try and train Caymanians to work as hard, as often, and as skillfully as someone who comes from a country with a good work ethic.  Maybe you couldgive some pointers as to how it is possible?  The shoe is still on your own foot.  Right where it should be.  I am not anti anything but pro good business.

      • Dennis Smith says:

        Read my post below, been there, done that and it works.

      • Anonymous says:

        No matter how you look at this comment, it can only be categorizing as prejudice to presume to judge an entire nation or nationality based on the experiences with a few.

        In case you have not realized it, Cayman as it is now was primarily built by HARDWORKING Caymanians. it was only much later when the development boom really took off that other nationalities came to share in the profits, and was welcomed by CAYMANIANS.

        I'm sure that there would be an exodus of the other nationalities if the economy should fail.

        So please DO NOT speak about CAYMANIAN work ethics, especially when you live in our beautiful islands at our behest, contributing minimally to the devlopement and most likely sending most of your salary home to build your own country

         

        • Anonymous says:

           I actually live in Grand Cayman because my skill is needed here and like most expats I have contributed a lot (Dutys, Fees, land, a house, and all the other things that are needed to live here) so I am paying my own way.  But you knew that right?  And I speak of what I have seen and what I hear from other expats and Caymanian employers.  Most likely you are one of the lazy ones that they all talk about.

           

        • Just Commentin' says:

          I am sorry to bring you to reality here. I have been in the business realm here for…well…longer than I care to admit. While I I have seen a glorious increase in the level of education and worldliness, over the years I have witnessed a marked decline in the work ethic and a serious erosion of the attitude of younger Caymanians relative to authority figures. 

          Cayman was indeed built by very hard working Caymanians; however, we have all heard many an older Caymanian decrying the younger generations as having bad attitudes and poor work ethics. Lately I hear it from my older Caymanian workers quite often. Am I wrong in this observation?

  14. Dennis Smith says:

    I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea that having a minimum wage will raise our cost of living. We don't manufacture or even grow what we consume in Cayman, it’s all imported, and so minimum wage costs are not passed on in the products that we buy only in the services that we use.

    The minimum wage earner is in the minority compared to the higher (Much Higher) income level of the working population above them. The cost of establishing a minimum wage might be equal to an average of $2 per hour per person currenlyt below that level. How many people are we talking about? 1,000, 2, 3, 4? I don’t know but compared to the 30,000 people or above earning $10s of thousands more pa the impact level can’t be the10% often quoted below or even, god forbid the scary 25% someone mentioned. More likely 1% or 2% of our total economy. We raised import duty by 20% and somehow managed to live with it. CUC went up and we lived with it. I don’t get the cost of living argument at all.

    Labour Competition is a much more serious matter. Apparently Diogenes – 20:54, seems to think that Caymanians should compete with the global labour market, even if it’s at $3,00 per hour. Well guess what, this is just the thin edge of the wedge. If we can import educated and experienced workers for $3 per hour them we may as well import accountants for $7 per hour and force Caymanians to compete. I’m sure that somewhere on this planet there are people with degrees and experience that would happily take KY $7 per hour.  Our students who are studying accounting will get their degrees just in time to come home to go fishing.

    How do they pay for their America University school loan? Maybe if the got their degree in Bangladesh but we seem to have adopted the US and Canadian expensive education model. I suspect that professional level displacement is already happening here.

    Protectionism was the biggest reason why Caymanian’s didn’t fight for a job 20 years ago and just as recently as 5 years ago most Caymanian’s still thought that they had a right for employment, not an opportunity. Thank god that has evaporated, but now they are being cut out of the opportunities as well. Look at the resent employment ads. Something like: “Minimum 10 years experience, $7 per hour salary” for skilled labour.

    Most people can learn how to operate equipment, after 2 or 3 years on the job, after that it’s  the same experience just repeated over and over again. So the long job experience requirement is simply designed to keep Caymanians out. Too much previous experience required and too little pa offered, it works. I’m sure someone in the global unemployment pool has already applied and qualified.

    Education – It’s so convenient to blame a lack of education as the excuse for not hiring and training a Caymanian. It like saying they are all lazy and drug users, so they are bad people and they get what they deserve, maybe, but trying to shove an education into a young mind that doesn’t see opportunity and without aspirations is impossible.

    Most people need to have a dream, a vision of what there future will be and how Science, Math or even English is useful. Just studying because you are told to do it doesn’t work. We need to give them something to reach for, not pull the rug out from under their feet.

    Is a minimum wage the answer? I don’t know but we need solutions. I would start by paying my workers more. It worked for me, I used every excuse to train, develop and pay more. Sometimes I paid over the top but usually my people just charged ahead. Can you imagine how good it feels to start a young person at 6$ per hr, and then $8 and then $10 and so on. At one time I was the 4th largest employer in Cayman and today I’m still stopped in the street and asked when I’m starting up again, I would not have any problem hiring Caymanians.

    • Just Commentin' says:

      Huh? How can you say that "minimum wage costs are not passed on in the products that we buy only in the services that we use"? If the "we" you refer to is the consumers of these islands, your statement is absolutely false Ok. Let's do a little Business 101 review here since you seem to know absolutely zilch about how business works.

      The actual accounting is more complex than the model I am reflecting, but for now the basics should suffice. I am trying keep the model simple so I will not go into the finer points of operating expenses, overheads, fixed vs variable costs, etc. We will use a retail business that sells goods as our model. To put it as simply as possible we will simply ignore the fact that a lot of things we buy are imported by local wholesalers and resold at a markup to the retailers. Although the model is for a business that sells a product, it can be adapted to a service based or manufacturing business as well. For the sake of simplicity we will assume the the stuff we buy here is imported directly from abroad by the retailer.

      The two basic components of prices on the shelf are: 1. Cost of the goods to the retailer.  2. "Markup", or how much the retailer adds to his cost for the goods to arrive at the price consumers pay.

      Simply speaking, the markup reflects two basic components: 1. "Expenses": Included under this heading are such costs to the business as rents, utilities, insurance, maintenance, advertising, wages, a factor to defray capital outlays, etc.; and, 2. "Profit", which needs no explanation.

      If any of the basic components of the retailer's cost increases, the added cost is generally handled by increasing the price the consumer pays for the goods. (Did you get this? Hope so!)  In other words, if the cost of an item to the retailer increases, the increase in cost  is reflected in the retail price. Likewise if expenses increase, prices increase to keep pace or profit erosion will take place.

      In a highly competitive situation with a fairly decent profit margin, the business may choose to "absorb" a portion of the increase by taking less profit; however, price increases are the basic way businesses handle increases in their basic costs and expenses.

      It should now be clear to you: Should the minimum wage result in an increase in the wage component of expenses, price to the consumer would increase.  For example, and keeping it simple: On an item with a shelf price of ten dollars with a markup of 5 dollars,  let's assume that  the wage component of that five dollar markup is one dollar.  If total wages paid by the business increase 10% because of implementing minimum wage laws, the cost of the item will increase by 10 cents. 

      It is very important to note that this model does not factor in the "trickle-up" multiplier effect that a general increase in wages will have on operating expenses such as rents, utilities, insurance, maintenance, advertising, etc. The cost of these components are also affected by wage increases.

      Now can you now wrap your head around it?

      Space does not permit me to dissect your other silly premise: you say that "We raised import duty by 20% and somehow managed to live with it. CUC went up and we lived with it." Yes, we may have "lived with it" as you say; however, among other things, the increases eroded the buying power of the consumer, decreased the standard of living for the non-wealthy, decreased disposable income, decreased "thrift" (the ability to put money in savings), and increased prices of our tourism products. I can't believe anyone can be so dense as to trivialise these factors.

      • Dennis Smith says:

        Dear Sarcastic and Condescending, It’s very likely that I’ve prepared and analyzed more cost benefit analyses, strategic plans, budgets, business projections and monthly operational accounts for multiple service, manufacturing, wholesale and retail businesses over the last 45 years than you have. So don’t assume that you have all of the smarts. High school business math is not very difficult or challenging so don’t tout it as some level of education, its not.

        By your own math: a 10 cents per item labour increase added to your $15.00 item is still only an increase of .66% much less than the 1% to 2% that I postulated elsewhere. So I’m having trouble with your argument and especially your sarcasm.

        I could be persuaded that a minimum wage is detrimental to Cayman’s economy but so far I haven’t.

        Perhaps if our local businesses were more concerned about bringing Caymanians forward as part of their covenant with the society that they extract revenue from and live in I would trust self-interest more.

        But its seems that many Caymanian business men and women want to just demand and control and expect that their employees will say: “yes sir” and jump.

        When you have an out of control, avaricious business culture that is destroying the social-economic structure of a country you must regulate and restrict its activities. As much as I dislike regulation I believe we have reached that point. A minimum wage is only the first step in irradiating an irresponsible business culture that has left 1,000s of Caymanians on the sidelines. A business culture that says that Caymanian are lazy and don’t want to work and then uses this excuse to import 10,000 replacement workers at wage levels that a Caymanian can’t live on is dishonest, disreputable and destructive. Expecting government to pay for it through a bloated social service program while criticizing government spending is dishonest and hypocritical.

        These business owners, little dictators and demigods, have no understanding that Caymanians are must be partners in their success. As partners they also have needs, expectations and aspirations. Helping them succeed is not only a social responsibility its also good business. A committed and motivated workforce is an asset not a liability.

        By hiring cheaply from the global labour pool you not only pay almost nothing and you also negate your reasonability as a member of our community. In a country where you pay no income taxes and prepare no complex business accounts for government your tirade against the added cost of a minimum wage is overblown and ridiculous.

        If you manage your business strictly by your accounts and visualize employees only as an operating expense that constantly needs to be pushed down, minimized or even worse: If you think that you have the right to marginalize the “natives” of this country in your pursuit of profit you are the problem. Sarcasm, disparate remarks and classifying an entire population as “Unemployable” is a self-serving excuse for abuse.

        We really don’t need you and your high-handed attitude here. By the way I sign my posts so that you will know who I am and what I stand for. You can reach me: Dennis Smith – at thejewelmaker@gmail.com – Cell 327-8923. My business history is on Linkedin.

        • Anonymouse says:

          Hats off to you, Dennis! Thank you for your honesty, intelligence and courage. I can tell you really love this country.

        • Just Commentin' says:

          Hi Dennis!

          My dear Dennis! Where do I begin without appearing  "Sarcastic and Condescending"? Oh heck, that has never stopped me before, so here goes:

          XXXX

          CNS: Sorry, this didn't pass the schmuck test. When you're debating with someone who consistently comments using his own name you must be nice and stick to the issue. If you want to own all that "biting sarcasm" (did you see what I did there?) and comment under your real name, feel free.

          • Just Commentin' says:

            Sorry, CNS. Point taken!  It would seem that dratted sardonic schmuck Mr. Hyde was at my keyboard yet again!  He is a brilliant beggar; however, his penchant for trenchant discourse is not in every case meet, or needed. Although keeping the peevish rascal at bay was an extraordinarily dreadful challenge, I was able to prevail sufficiently to temper Hyde's captious delivery and compile a more genteel reply:

            Dennis, I must contend that your statement regarding the price "increase of .66%" is not correct based upon the model data I gave. I must respectfully proffer that this glaring error is in significant contention to, and certainly detracts from, your boast of substantial sagacity in business accounting and financial reporting. I point this out because sound analytical skills relating to the issue of cost/price correlation is  fundamental to understanding – and, therefore, debating this issue.

            Your biting anti-expat rhetoric seems imply that I am not Caymanian. Incorrect again. Moreover, and regardless of my ethnicity,  the "attack the expat" gambit is a most threadbare and stale approach; in my opinion it is neither wise nor becoming. FYI: I trace my Cayman lineage at least as far back as most "non-paper" Caymanians. You?

             

  15. Diogenes says:

    What you want is less labour competition, not more.   Your real problem is that foreigners take the lower paid jobs because they are prepared to work for a wage lower than Caymanians are prepared to supply their labour. That is the essence of a free market – or competition.  Sure, increasing the minimum wage (if we can simply ignore the effects of inflation on the real spending value of such a wage, and assume away any social prejudices against doing "menial" work) may encourage Caymanians to enter the job market, but in addition to the existing workers who would presumably be more than happy to work for more money than they are already getting, you have just widened the prospective labour pool beyond the existing suppliers to other jurisdictions who may not have been prepared to work for $3 an hour but are prepared to work for $10.  

    What you really want is to encourage Caymanian participation – thereby getting rid of the "no Caymanian turned up for the job" excuse – and then prevent foreigners from getting the job by saying a Caymanian is available.  That is perfectly understandable as a policy objective – but call it what it is – protectionism.    It sure isnt increasing competition to say that an employer can only chose from those locals who offer their services rather than the entire planet.  And what happens when the local supply of people prepared to make beds in the hotels or wait on tables or collect garbage – is not enough?  Then you really see the consequences of protectionism – lack of competition inevitably leads to higher costs, poorer productivity and inefficiencies.  There is a trade off.

  16. Just Commentin' says:

    One of the reasons I oppose minimum wage laws and the politricks associated with them is because they are an exercise like peeing your pants: at first you get a warm feeling, but in the end cold reality sets in.

    One of the warm feelings most who support minimum wages laws try to push is the wonderfully warm and fuzzy idea that it will alleviate poverty. This is far from true! Do a little research and you will see that in most western jurisdictions with a mandated minimum wage, the minimum wage seldom keeps pace with the cost of living index and inflation; thus, poverty-generating wage stagnation is validated by government and poverty becomes entrenched by an act of legislation. 

    Typically, jurisdictions that have mandated a "Minimum Wage" set the wage at a level well below what social financial experts deem to be a "Living Wage". There is often a very significant difference between the minimum wage and a Living Wage. 

    I detest, abhor, and despise, politically correct "patch it" measures promoted by crafty politicians to make themselves look good.  Alden is already on shaky ground with me because of his promise to implement a minimum wage. I suspect that it is a very good possibility that this promise is all smoke and mirrors and emptiness. In other words, politricks.  I seriously doubt that the PPM will implement anything resembling a Livable Wage. The minimum wage will be set so low that we will all be left worse off for it.  It would take a lot of space here for me to explain why that is the case, but you all can do the research for yourselves.

    I would hope readers here will keep the term "Living Wage" in mind!  Please! Repeat after me: "Living Wage". Look up the term on the Internet! Become familiar with it! Why? Because the "minimum wage" can be set so arbitrarily low it will essentially  be meaningless. To have any significant social and economic impact on poverty and the quality of life for Caymanian workers what is required is a "Living Wage".

    Now back to politricks. The important questions Alden must answer are:

    Will your anticipated "minimum wage" be an actual "Living Wage", or merely a politricks-motivated token to make yourself look like the hero?  (Post-Mac we have had our fill of b/s and politricks!)

    Who will actuially pay the costs? How, and to what extent will these costs trickle down?

    How and to what extent will these cost affect consumer prices in key markets?

    Alden has blown his hot air and made his warm and fuzzy campaign promises, but now he must be placed in the hot seat and be called to account for the all the effects we might expect from implementation of higher wages. In economics there is no such thing as a free ride! Somebody, somewhere, will pay. Politicians love to promise things that other people have to pay for. We need to have an accurate snapshot of the costs involved and not be spoon-fed the pap of a utopian view of the potential benefits!

    If we are going to go down this road, then Caymanian workers must not be duped by politricks into accepting anything less than a viable Living Wage and one that will automatically be revised on a meaningfully frequent basis according to the cost of living and one that is indexed according to the cost of living on the island on which one lives. (Hear this Mr. Deputy Premier?  Cayman Brac constituents must push for adjustments based on the higher cost of living there.) Anything less is pure unadulterated politricks!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Along with the introduction of a minimum wage, it must be a mandatory requirement that ALL employees have health insurance and be enrolled in a pension plan.

     

    In my opinion, besides cheap labour, many employers are getting away with murder by hiring work permit holders instead of Caymanians because they don't have to provide them with pension or health insurance.

     

    Immigrationshouldn't have anything to do with work permits, but since that is presently the case I will use the term "Immigration" loosely until these functions are placed under an appropriate body.

     

    As a condition to issuing a work permit, the "Immigration" department must be given details on the pension plan that the work-permit holder will be enrolled in.

     

    Now let's say the minimum wage is $5 per hour. Work permits should not be granted unless you have at least 40 hours of work per week for the person you wish to take out a permit for. This means that individual should earn at least $860 per month.

     

    Every month the new "Immigration" or whatever they are called should receive a report from the various approved pension funds with details on the people enrolled in their pension plans that have received payments of less than $86, that being a contribution of 5% each from employee and employer.

     

    I have no problem with people being paid $3.50 per hour or some other agreed upon amount and then making up the difference in tips. However, they must claim and pay pension on a minimum of $5 per hour.

     

    Once the pension payments stops, "Immigration" will know that abuse of the work-permit holder has started and they can immediately step in to remedy the situation.

    • Anonymous says:

      "I will use the term "Immigration" loosely…"

       

      The accurate term is "Indentured Slavery System".

       

      Given the choice between a slave and a free Caymanian, many Caymanian employers will opt for using a slave. They work cheap and put up with economic abuse. Complainers are quickly kicked off the island.

       

      The enemy of the Caymainian working class is the Caymanian ruling class. Karl Marx would have loved it here.

    • Anonymous says:

      What you call "immigration" Caymanians know as "Caymanian Protection". It is designed and intended as the latter. Recognise that, and you will understand its role better. 

      • Anonymouse says:

        20+ years ago it was about Caymanian Protection and the legislation and the relevant board was named accordingly. Today it is about earning revenue for govt. not protection of Caymanians.   

    • Anonymous says:

      and you really think they can live on 860.00 per month?  DO YOU?  Groceries alone will take 1/3 of that, rent, utilities…all gone

      • Anonymous says:

        People do. Cut your coat according to your cloth. You can't expect to shop for delicacies if you are a subsistence wage.

    • Anonymous says:

      That would take actual "work" by some CIG maximum wage earners to well ….work.

  18. Anonymous says:

    As an employer who pays labourers a starting wage of CI$ 10.00 per hour. I have to wonder at the double standards in this country. Firstly the majority of local firms have majority caymaninan directors and ownership, secondly it is Caymanian who rent the low cost substandard housing to these expat workers, thirdly the public here always want to build houses at stupid costs which you can't compete with if you are law abiding businesss paying fair wages. 

    So it is Caymanians employing low paid expats and this market driven because most people do not want to pay for it but want to make the biggest spread between cost and selling. 

    In conclusion it is greed that drives the cost of labour down because materials are a fixed price in doing business.

    And it is Caymanian doing this to other Caymanians. A maid told me the other day she was paid $150.00 per week but got board. I asked her how hours a week she worked she said all the time and got no pension or paid holidays or medical. Until these employers are investigated then it just a matter of time before these islands are doomed.

    We already have the laws to protect against this but until you have the courage to report your fellow Caymanian who break the laws or pay continue to pay 'on the cheap' for services from people/expats who are not working and then charge you the wage rate and not the cost of business rate then we are all finished here.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you.

      If Immigrationwould do what they are supposed to do and if there would be regular audits of employers (ie do they have actually work for the person for whom they hold a permit, are they paying what they said on the work permit application they will be paying and are they providing pension and healthcare benefits), then we probably wouldn't need to discuss whether a minimum wage is necessary.

      I don't understand how we can continue to grant permits for someone, knowing that they earn a wage where they can afford some decent living in a decent place (ie not sharing a house with 10 other people etc).

       

      • Anonymous says:

        I am Caymanian, and in my house we have 8 persons living with 3 bed rooms between us.  We live good, share the basic food stuff. Are you telling me I should not be living in such a nice way? You can pay someone 4$ an hour, or 100$ an hour, it will make no difference, some people will shack up and live how they want. Your mindset tells you that just because people shack up together that they are making low wages. When I read various comments regarding minimum wage, I remember how loud and vocal the UDP parades were, I was really worried as it seem I was the only one not supporting them. After election I see there was hope and just because a few Lazy people will think they should be paid more than they are worth does not  mean the problem is wide spread. Everytime you mention about entitlement and changing this there seem to be a loud cry. Is there somthing wrong with the Locals not wanting to be retrained and settle into jobs that they are capable with. Just because you can look under the hood of your car does not make you a mechanic. so you joined a water pipe with tape one day, I guess thats make you a plumber. Please cayman, do not expect that Bk or other such is below you. If the salary is X$, then dont ask for a different pay. that is the salary, There is nosense complaining that you should be paid 10$ an hour to flip a 99cents burger. Find somthing resonable. But if you stick with the mentality that the world owes you and the expats taking all the jobs, then that is just what will happen while you still decided that you cant work less than what you think you are worth.

        • Anonymous says:

          If you are unrelated, then no, you should not be living in that way. The Laws of the Cayman Islands (for good reason) provide that no more than 2 unrelated persons should share a bedroom (exceptions permitted for Birthdays).

    • Anon says:

      Many poorly paid workers are employed by nationals of their own country. I am specifically aware of instances where Jamaicans have hired Jamaicans pay them poorly and owe them weeks of salary and have made no pension contributions. It is a simple fact that Jamaican helpers are usually treated by their Caymanian employers than by their fellow Jamaican employers. I am also specifically aware that there are many cases of low cost substandard housing being rented by nationals of other countries to their own countrymen. Someone should take you on a tour of Eastern Avenue and Swamp before you write such nonsense.       

      • Anonymous says:

        it goes both ways, its time government tackle these issues and enforce them, but its corruption because these same government people they are the ones involve and protecting their friends and family doing such unfair treatment to expats and their own, and its very disgusting, too much racism and class but many who acting that way is uneducated and ignorant more than the ones they employ.

  19. The Thinker says:

    All I have to say about this is that everyone should read the earlier article mentioned by CNS at the bottom of the article.  What will a minimum wage achieve?

    It appears that many minimum wage pushers don't really know the facts. 

  20. Anonymous says:

    Start designating certain jobs for Caymanians only as recently proposed.  These job categories should be for jobs that Caymanians both want and are qualified to do.

    Once these designations are put into law, the businesses will then start to GENUINELY search forCaymanians to fill those jobs and guess what? – the wages for those jobs WILL naturally climb as a result, reason being that to hold those locals in the jobs and to keep the best ones, decent wages will be required.

    But lets keep the pressure on the Work permit Board to implement existings laws too.

    • Anonymous says:

      How qualified do you have to be to work at Wendys Burger King Kentucky Fried Chicken Pizza Hut??? 99.9% work permit holders…anymore to be said, didn't think so…

      • Anonymous says:

        How qualified? Let me explain. Very Qualified in the art of showing up on time. Very qualified to understand that customers dont care about your issues or problems. Customers want a burger, not a buger with attitude. Should also be qualified how to work as a team and qualified to know that you have to be proud of what ever you do, very qualified that when your so-called person that you know come in the fast food joint, that you dont find excuse to hide behide somthing. Qualified to know that keeping your work area cleaned is not a choice, its part of the duties. Do you need me to continue to explain how qualified you have to be to work at such prestige fast food restaurant?

        Only in the Cayman Islands that you can get a basic job with no , nothing, zero, qualification, can even run the country with preschool level education. If a Caymanianwanted to work in the supermarket, or the fast food restaurant, or the waiters bar job, or any such job, they are never refused. They normaly do not show up and quit before they even start. I am very tired of hearing this crap about permit holders taking this kind of Jobs from the Caymanians, cut the crap. So why do we even have to bother with the stupidness of advertising for a "helper" Caymanian only need apply?. Give me a break with all the nonesense. It is very obvious that The caymanians that are being lazy or have this attitude are imported.

        If every Caymanian have to work for a house and car and boat and so on, then what is the point. Go get a Job and stop this crap about permit holders taking this Jobs. Get a job, show up on time, and even just show up sometimes., when you find somthing better, give your resignation with enough time to have the position replaced. I am so sick of going to a burger joint on WB road and being served breakfast with lousy attitudes. If you dont want to work or be there, then please find another job. Its not my fault you have to wake up at 6 am to be work at 7 am. Qualified means a lot of things and there are alot of person that do not qualify, both Expat or Caymanians.

        XXXX We are all faced with the entitlement problem that if not curtailed will become a very serious problem and would be no turning back. I would like to see some proof of the 2000 person that are suposed to be caymanians out of work. not 15 to 18 years. not 50 to 60 years retired, but real Caymanians that have been refused work at Burger King or Wendys or Pizza Hut. Just because someone apply does not mean they qualify. XXX how about giving a second chance to a felon fresh out of jail for stealing? come on give them a chance XXX. They should not be refused employment.

        Minimum wage will not change the entilement attitude that has developed here. why should employers always be given the left overs to choose from. There area handful of hard working qualified Caymanains that will never be without a Job. Labour board needs to purge the list and stop sending the same people from 20 years ago that have been on the list over and over to every small business.They are the ones to be ashamed of forcing or blackmailing employers to hire anyone from that list with all sorts of un-reported convictions. Caymanians and expat alike that are hard working know exactly what the talk about the lazy ones. Its not a local thing, but in Cayman it has become the "in thing" to expect high wage or cant be bother to work mentality. Stop the blame game. Get an attitude to work.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This is a first time I must disagree with a veiwpoint. Mr. Smith sounds like someone with a grudge. Not everyone will be able to purchase houses and new autos and such. And please note the permit system is not an open policy, it is very restricted and closed. And to suggest that business just closed in the past when they could not afford to pay a certain wage is very mis-leading. Not every person knows how to run a business. The subject of minimum wage is good to start talking about, but sounding like a person with grudges and no solution is just garb. Lets give an example  of work and wages. So an online news company hires a caymanian and a permit holder with a basic salary of ci$1000.00 and explains how the commission system work, the more advertising and the more business taken in and signed up will get more commission, end of the month salary can reach ci$4200.00. So both employees have the same chances of making some good money. If one does not work good or hard , they would then complain about the minimum wage being paid is too low at ci$1000.00 and make it seem that company is under paying for what is standard in the industry. So lets say the goverment steps in and suggest that the minimum should be ci$1400. The company then decides to drop commsiion and pay minimum salaries, productivity goes down, then another month later both employees quit since they can be making higher salaires elsewhere. the business then is left stranded and looked at as slave drivers. There is no substitute for working for what you want in life. Some employees have it, some just dont want it and dont want to see others succeed. Mr. Smith dont just make a veiwpoint and not offer suggestions for the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      The government should step in anytime there is no minimum wage or one that is too low for a single person to afford basic living needs. This is first and foremost a prerequiste for building a stable society. Yes, it will create both problems and solutions which will also have to be addressed. The gap between the high wage earners and low wage earners has increased greatly since 1980. For exammple, if minimum wages in the US had been increased over the years to match inflation, the current livable minimum wage in the USwould be over US$30 per hour. 

       

      My hope is that when our minimum wage is implemented in Cayman that there be a system in place that allows it to rise proportionally with the inflation and cost of living indexes.

       

       

       

    • Anonymass says:

      – Lets look at another hypothetical example. Both employees are paid $3 an hour with no overtime or commission or etcetera. Now, does that sound fair?

      – If your pay is commission based, etc., obviously you're not on a flat hourly rate and minimum wage either doesn't apply to you or it applies differently than you described. Yes, lets have a discussion but please, stop scaremongering.

      – Even taking your $1,000 per month thats still over $5 per hour, full time, so you're already in the realm where it could be argued you're not minimum wage.

      – So, lets focus the discussion on what the minimum wage should be, not on whether hypothetical bussinesses will close down if they're hypothetically paying above minimum anyway. Care to try hypothetically justifying a take-home of $3 per hour, or $500 per month? Care to try hypothetically living on that?

       

      Milk & Carrotts

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm sorry I don't understand why anyone who gets more money which means less stress and more opportunities would not try and make even more money. I guess you're one of those people who doesn't want to pay out more money. But if you could pretend for a moment that you were on the other side of the equation. Why would you want to make less money? If you have a job that just increase your salary ,why wouldn't you want to keep it?

      It just seems to me that you have the grudge because it didn't go your way. The employees would be happier. Why,why would you drop the commission? 

      The solution to a lot of these problems is unscrupulous business people need to be closed down and fined for unfair treatment of human beings. We have more care for animals.

      Dave miller

      • Anonymous says:

        That is why you are one of the very few person voted for The wooden spoon winner. You think alike. Only show up when it look good on the home front. Find your canidate and hide where ever he has gone back. So many promises about elected or not. What I keep ranting about is that there is very few persons really out of work, most will not start for anything considered normal, 8$ to 10$ per hour. They want bank manager job and Supervisor Jobs. I can tell you for a fact, there are only a few bad employers out there but there are a lot more abusive employees to share around. The only solution for the problem is to get people to work first, then goverment can do their part after they start to reduce hand outs. This would allow them to lower certain fees, which would then help everyone. Why should we be subjected not to pay School fees but expect so much from our teachers and students?. There were more paying persons than the loud mouths that do not pay for anything. Why are we still allow persons to abuse the CI Goverment hospital? They feel entiltled to get service and curse and go on crazy when they have to wait. All of this drives the cost up. Minimum wages is already in place. it will not help anything to mandate it. Cayman can do better by learing from everyone around them instead of always acting like spoil children that prefer to do nothing and complain. this is one of the only place in the world where a person can drive around in a brand new SUV and be on social service still receiving monthly allowance. Strong hard back men and women. No shame. and by the way I have a good job, not the best paying, but what makes it worst is having to work double hard just to make up for another person laziness. but in the end with the extra shifts for no show and such, I get a good pay cheque.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you entirely Dennis and have for years been arguing about minimum wage. We need to fix this problem first then 7yr rollover won't matter. Instead of people coming from foreign countries buying or renting apt or houses our people will be able to afford these properties. Nothing is gained by not  having a min. wage except crime a lot of crime. 

    I'm not talking about the big professional jobs, I'm talking about working in a place likeRitz carlton US$ 3.50 per hour with no guarantee of tips? Come on now security jobs less then CI$ 5.00 per hour. Where do they live? Next door to Dog City? Didn't one indian and a filipino get chopped up and almost died? One didn't have enough money for hosp. and had to go to Jamaica. So is this what we want instead? Pretending that these people are helping the island going forward? How ? They can't afford to buy anything here like property or house and apt. They all are sharing , they can't afford to be here. 

    So our people will have to go back 30 years in time to be able to say they have a job?  

    Let me be the devil's advocate and be a elected MLA minister. Let me want to solve the problem. Hmmm….. I could make a law that says no more sharing. So from now on no house or apt will be allowed to have more then 2 people per room. Minimum charge of $ 500 per person per month. Its just not healthy to have more then 2 people per room .

    Lets make another law: When you get a work permit .The employer sends receipts of employees health ins. and pension. I'm sure the ins co and pension people will be able to hire people to gather the data.

                                            No one on a work permit can sign away their rights.You must get time and a half and double time .So that means if you work past 45 hour weeks ,you get time and a half. 

                                             Minimum wage must start at a cost of living wage.

    Can anyone else think of anything more we need?

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Why dont we just educate the local population to a point where they are all employable and  working for themselves in harmony. In the end, education is the equalizer. Do you know how productive and proud the Cayman Islands can be when we reach a stage where everyone is able and capable of working.? Why do we have so much social service hand out. I would be curious to know one educated person that cannot find a Job. And I mean a job. Everyone wants to own a new car, everyone wants there own house. we complain about car pooling, what do you think causes traffic. Some solutions, public transport system on a massive scale. Proper education of the local work force. Not every bank manager that quits will be expecting to find a higher position. There are lot of Jobs. Just that there are so few willing to do "A" job properly. There is hope and I think the education system including a trade school to give people the urge to study and to learn new things would be the best start. Caymanians jump from job to job when they are being late a few times, they dont like to be told they are wrong. Its the few bad apples that make all employees look bad, and im sure there are one or two employers that can be regulated. Tara and Winston, as per part of your mandates, I would suggest to break down the list of social service recipiants and same for the list of person on the labor board pool. Follow up with each one and see if what is on the file is correct. I am sure you will find able bodies men and women going around to the Salons and the Bars and the liquor stores and enjoying the fruits of the countries labour, same for the list of so-called unemployed, you will find that the same persons are listed as un-employed but are really working a Job that they just dont like to do anymore and are looking for the chance that is availible only in the Cayman Islands. I dont know what happens to people once they have that peice of paper, that cayman status, its like they loose there minds and cant think straight anymore. if they have been employed for 10 years and get that paper, all of a sudden that Job is not good enough anymore.

      Solution 1. Clear the Social Service hand out List

      Solution 2.  Update the data at labor board, unemployed is just that Unemployed, not  dissatified with current jobs or recently got status and want to try out new job.

      Solution 3. Create a Reliable Public Transport system.

      Solution 4. Get the Trade School idea in place and have it implemented in 2 to 3 years so it can be phased in properly. The Local business will fund the courses various ways.

      Solution 5. (For goodmeasure), every permit submited has to pay for 3 months of CINICO basic coverage unless it can be proven insurance is availible.

       

      Thats a start.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Implimenting a minimum wage is a very BAD idea. Here are some of my thoughts. Take the average worker working in retail. They start at $7-$8 an hour and over the years, they get small increases for cost of living, good performance, and so on. Now they make $12 an hour. Now a minimum wage is introduced, say at $6 – $7 an hour. Now a bunch of employees become available that are willing to do the same job for "minimum wage" and the employer starts to think, why should I keep giving this guy a raise when I can hire someone else to do the same job for half the cost. Maybe they wont be as good, but hell, I could get two people for the price of one. That job has now become a "minimum wage" job. Salaries of workers will become stagnant and over time, the average income will actually go down. It will hurt the very people it is trying to protect. Nobel prize winning economists have drastic differences of opinion when it comes to the minimum wage, set it too low and you hurt the average income, set it too high (or raise it after the fact) and you hurt the economy and job growth. Why should Cayman manufacture another economic headache? How will we determine what the minimum wage should be or better yet, what happens to our economy when we raise or lower it after the fact? Are Caymanians going to work those "minimum wage" jobs? No. Are Caymanians going to increase the salaries of their helpers and gardeners to conform to the minimum wage or willl they continue to pay them illegal wages? Its best to think this one through and dont jump on the band wagon for a minimum wage just becasue it sounds good. Getting it right is virtually impossible but getting it wrong, can be economic suicide.

    • Anonymous says:

      agree with this, in fact if anyone reads the related viewpoint link by 101 they will see an alternative way to look at this thing. i just hope the new governemnt does not rush it and think about all sides first.

      • Anonymous says:

        Problem: You are basing your "opionion" on the "opinion"  of Nobel economists who "suppose" that  the are correct. Of couse since they are Nobel economists they must be right.

        Or you could try looking at actual factual real life data as shown by the Economic Policy Institute. http://www.epi.org/publication/bp357-federal-minimum-wage-increase/

        You will be surprised how your "common sense" has led you astray.

         

        You should base your opionion on fact, not on other's opinions.

        • Anonymous says:

          Your source, the "Economic Policy Institute, Research and Ideas for Shared Prosperity" doesn't sound at all biased now does it.  I'm sure for socialist they're completley unbiased and objective in their research and conclusions.  Why don't you just get a quote from Michael Moore while your at it.

    • Anonymous says:

      $12.00 per hour!  which supermarket, hotel, Ritz etc

  24. Anonymous says:

    Not all businesses will be paying minimum wage.  I have a business and I pay my employees more than a minimum wage. They are able to be independent and raise families based on what I pay them. All Caymanians deserve at least this very basic right to earn a living in their own country. 

     

    Many opponents claim the cost of living will increase. They have no proof of this but think it is so because employers have to pay more. Well I won't have to pay more since I already pay above a minimum wage level.  Many businesses will not have to pay more for their already well compensated employees.

     

    Most of us encounter minimum wage earners when we go to grocery stores and hardware type stores. If the supermarket has to pay more for unskilled labour, they will likewise see an increase in profits from sales increases due to the spending power the minimum wage provides.

     

     So you see, the cost of living doesn't go up, prices do not increase and more people are able to purchase more which is good for business. This is in fact the proven outcome of a minimum wage in countries around the world. I do not know of a case where a minimum wage was implemented or raised to such detriment that countries reversed their policy. 

  25. Anonymous says:

    A very good article especially the part about " Government is subsidizing the labour intense businesses in Cayman by enabling them to pay an unlivable wage (for Caymanians) to foreign workers while it supports the un- and under-employed through its social services programs.

    If more Caymanians were working for more money then government would be spending less on social services. Caymanian wages are spent in Cayman, not sent overseas."

  26. Anonymous says:

    Good viewpoint.

     

    The enemy of the Cayman working class is the Cayman ruling class.

     

    The Cayman ruling class likes the indentured slavery system (aka immigration law) because it allows them to hire cheap labour that is easy to abuse, exploit, and, most importantly, control through the continued threat of immediate deportation if a complaint is made.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Thumbs UP

  28. Anonymous says:

    There's only 2000 unemployed Caymanians, not 7000. Will creating a minimum wage cause them to become employed? Clearly not. Will it raise the cost of imported low-end labor? Clearly it will. Will raising the cost of imported low-end labor benefit any Caymanians? Only those Caymanians who will compete with imported low-end labor for the minimum wage job. Are there any such Caymanians? Beats me, but I bet it will take a wage well north of CI$10 to move anyone off their porch and out to the construction site to carry drywall.

  29. Chris says:

    Excellent Viewpoint.

    Minimum wage is just as much a moral issue as it is an economic issue.

    A good friend of mine always said, there is no wrong time to do the right thing.

    Introduce a minimum/living wage now. We will all be better off for it.

    So lets talk specifics:

    rent = $500

    food = $500

    Light, water, phone = $200

    Miscellaneous (Transport, Medical, etc.) = $100

    Total expenses per month = $1300

    Expenses for 12 months = $15,600

    Expenses per week = $300

    Expenses per hour = 300/40= CI$7.50

    This is a simple proposed cost of living figure per hour.

    As for gratuity based businesses the solution is simple; the employer must make up the shortfall between the earned income and the minimum wage. 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_wage_in_the_United_States

    Before you comment please search your conscience and remember, our failure to address the minimum wage issue now will only result in us spending more to address crime later.

     

     

    • Anon says:

      That is a bit too high. For example, domestic helpers expenses and sometimes accommodation is covered by their employers and I am not aware of any of them whose individual rent is $500 p.m.

      $5.00 p.h.  

    • Anonymous says:

      I generally agree with you but would go for a lower number.

      I am not making minimum wage and use less than $300 on 'groceries' (food and anything else Foster's sells, like cleaning supplies, etc.) So $300 groceries and utilities to $150 (my mortgage and other expenses preclude eating fancy or using A/C or a smart phone) brings it down to $6.50 per hour.

  30. Bothered says:

    Your view of the foreign worker situation is bothersome. You don't realize that if there was a livable minimum wage, then Caymanians would seek work and take the jobs currently held by foreigners from poorer countries. It is not expected that a minimum wage earner should be able to afford to buy a house. It is a means of making a decent living. It will result in less foreign labor and less money being sent away to foreign lands. The social burden on Government will be less and tax revenue from increased spending will increase. 

     

    Minimum wage is a win-win-win for government, business and the wage earner. I am confident that our new government is aware of the statistics available which show the benefit to an economy when indigenous people can afford to live in their own country. Cost of living and government debt go down. This is a fact, not my opinion.

     

  31. Anonymous says:

    Dennis,

     

    Cooking is an art, baking is a science. Anyone can go into a ktchen and throw together something delicious without the need for a recipe. A baker however must measure precisely, specific ingredients for the cake to rise properly and come out perfect. A baker must follow the directions or risk a total disaster. 

    Economics is a science. Unfortunately it is too often treated like an art. Our leaders constantly tweak the economy with policies they think are good only to find things get worse. There is no room for debate on the minimum wage. It is not a debatable issue. It is a part of the science of economics which shows that introducing minimum wages results in economic growth. It is not specific to any country. It is true worldwide. Minimum wage does not cause an increase in the cost of living. Contrary, it provides the low wage earner more income to better cope with high costs. This new spending by those at the bottom does result in increased demand for goods which causes business to grow and government to benefit as well. 

    The increased demand for goods and services will result in greater opportunities for Caymanians to either enter the workforce or start their own businesses. Without the demand created by minimum wage we end up right where we are without change. It may be necessary to place limits on the amount of foreign labour we import. For the time being we cannot do without the income derived from work permits. We are in a debt crisis wihich can only be resolved if the economy is allowed to grow.

     

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      If Economics is a science then Astrology must be as well.

      Economics is the only science I know where two eminent practitioners can have opposing views and both of them are correct.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Minimum wage, costs jobs fewer jobs

    Minumim wage increates cost of business

    minimum wage do not help anyone become more prosporous

    minimum wage is a political footbal aimed soly for incompetent politics to seems as they are actually solving somthing and don't

    Minimum wage hasnt worked in any country in terms of making someone life more confortable.  if you look at the USA, people on minimum wage cannot pay their bills anymore than they used to.

    If you are making minimum wage in the USA, you are BREOKE and at the lowest poverty line.

    minimum wage cannot account for all of the industires

    politicians pushing minimum wage are the same bunch that have bankrupted every budget know to man, yet want to apply their morning approach to the private sector and force them to act moronically for their own self interest

    minimum wage solves NOTHING and causes more harm than good not matter how good it makes you feel about yourself.

    lets create growth and opportunity, not pop policy, social correctness and other idiotic measures perpetrated by self serving and self pedestalizing narsissitic economical  pseudo-intellects.

    Do real read work instead of pawning your responsibilities on the backs of our small businesses!!!

     

  33. Anonymous says:

    But if labour costs go up then prices go up.  You are supporting a very inflationary path.  Do you want the price of everything to go up by another 10% or more?

  34. Anonymous says:

    Can't disagree with anything you've opined in this viewpoint. Especially your last four paragraphs, which sum up the way things happen here very well. And how the lack of an overall development affects us all.

    Oh, and you're completely correct in that; as abolishing slavery may have been expensive (financially) it still was no doubt the right thing to do! One would think that a "christian" nation would agree….no?

  35. Anonymous says:

    "Intention".