Basic wage report delayed

| 29/09/2014

(CNS): Plans to consider the introduction of a minimum wage in the Cayman Islands have been delayed again as a report which was expected to have been completed before the end of October has been delayed until at least the end of February. A committee was formed to look into the minimum wage rate in June of this year, three months after the government rejected a private member's motion to introduce a minimum wage of at least $5. However, officials from the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) said Friday that their report would not be ready for Cabinet’s consideration until early in 2015 as the committee said it needs more time to consider the ideal rate.

The PPM campaigned on the introduction of a basic wage as a priority but the current employment minister, who ran on the Coalition for Cayman ticket, has appeared reluctant to push the issue.

“The government is following process of law and have convened a minimum wage committee,” Rivers said on Friday. She said the committee was trying to determine what the wage should be and had asked for an extension. Working with an international labour expert, she said that the more the committee examined the issue the more variables were raised. The minister described the issue as “a real sinkhole” that had the potential to be increasingly complicated.

However, with local wages appearing to be falling despite inflation and the pressure from imported cheap labour pushing  down rates further, many people believe that the introduction of a minimum wage is an essential element in the fight to reduce Caymanian unemployment.

Rivers, however said that the committee had to assess the different price points and the implications of those to address exploitation on the one hand and encourage job opportunities on the other. She said she was confident that the report would be complete for Cabinet’s consideration by February.

This means that low-paid workers or locals who are being pushed out of the labour market because of the falling wages won’t be given any relief anytime soon and there are growing concerns that the longer Cayman avoids implementing a minimum wage, imported cheap labour will continue to fuel local unemployment.

With many workers in Cayman still being paid less than $5 per hour, it is foreign nationals holding work-permits that are suffering the most and, many believe, causing Cayman, with one of the highest GDPs in the world, to import poverty.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The persons who are trying (and failing miserably) (again, and again)  to do something about this are way overpayed and in over their heads.. They did very well at making sure they get maximum wages for themselves.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If the USA's minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and it is cheaper to live in the USA than in Cayman, then Cayman's minimum wage should be no less than $8 per hour, even so $9 per hour.  It's not rocket science, it's plain simple common sense.  Anything lower just promotes slave labor which is imported, because Caymanians cannot live on those low incomes, because Cayman is where they spend their money to live, build their home, school their kids, buy their decent cars, their kids activities, etc. The imported cheap labororer's money multiplies greatly back in their homeland where is the place the invest their earnings, build their houses, buy their decent cars, school their kids, etc, they don't invest it in Cayman, they just shack up in Cayman to make the money to send home, not invest in the economy here.  To keep the minimum wage low is to give greedy business owners more profit whilst slaving people (imported slave labor), whilst causing Caymanians to not get jobs because they cannot live off of such low disgraceful wages in this very expensive island. Cayman is one of the most expensive places to live in the whole World.  Why the is the slave labor more important than stopping it?  That is the million dollar question which i can assure you the answer when it all boils down to it, is simply to protect greedy people.  Greed.

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    The issue of minimum wage is a complex, but not complicated, issue. Most Developed Countries in the world have Minimum Wage Legislation and they ALLhave different rates basd on their economy. Germany and Switzerland  who manufacture high -end expensive products have a higerrate than poorer countries. Google it.

    As student of economicsnd now a Lecturer in Economics, I encourage all of you to do some research on this topic – from US, Europe and the Carbbean as our economies and cost of living are all different and tht is what determines minimum wage.It's not a " I think this is fair" answer. As I wrote in the beginning – it is complex but not complicated.

    Let's get a Cayman Model. The approach by the Ministry of Employment to convene a Board of Industry Representatves/Busines Owners an Civil Socie without any representation from the "minimum wage worker"  is grossly unfair and unbalanced.  What the Ministry should have done was either of the two following options:

    (1) Follow a model that has proven to work – the Cayman Contractors Association. Go Googe it. The model is simple and fair – it has a range of per hour rates for diferent skill levels in the construction industry, including trainee wage rates. It works. It' s Caymanian. That same model could be used for the Tourism & Hospitality  Industry- different minimum rates for broad catgories of employment : Bell Men, Housekeepes, Food & Beverage, Concierge, etc. 

    (2) Get a Comittee from each major Industry ( we don't have that many – Hotels & Restaurants, Retailers & Wholesalers, Gardening& Landscaping, etc.)  that includes Owners and Workers, wth a Government Labour employee, and let the Industry and Employee decide and agree on a fair, tiered rate.

    But to convene a Board of ONLY employers and members of Civil Society, who have never been been hourly, or at any sort of minimum wge, their methodology was  flawed before the Board had its first meeting. Go google it!

  4. Anonymous says:

    You can play with the variables a bit, but why not something simple like.  If the bottom X% of company employees make less than $Y per hour on average, then no employee or owner of the company can make more than the botttom X%'s average pay * Z.

     

    For example if the bottom 30% of company employees make less than $10 per hour on average, then no employee or owner can make more than the average of the bottom 30% * 4.

     

    In the above scenerio if the bottom 30% were only making $3 per hour than the maximum pay for anyone is basically 25k per year.  If they were making $5 per hour the max would be about 42k and at $8 per hour would be around 67k.

     

    Some variation of the above ensures those actually doing the work to make money recieve a fair portion.  If a company is really just scraping buy and isn't making much it won't really hurt them.   

    • Anonymous says:

      That makes no sense to cap How much the owner can take home. People just wouldn't do business in the Cayman Islands. Plus how could you even monitor that?  There is no requirement for companiesto pay taxes. Therefore there is no requirement for these companies to keep proper books and records. It is good business practice and in the businesses benefit. There would be no way to regulate or monitor it. 

      • Anonymous says:

        With the above, there is no cap if the company is paying a living wage (whatever we decide that is).  I guess the first question we'd need to answer is what is the goal?  I assume the goal is to get companies to stop importing the cheapest labor they can find and instead offer Caymanians a fair wage for thier work.  People have worried about a minimum wage driving people out of business.  Certainly that isn't the goal.  So instead of making the minimum wage apply to everyone, allow those companies to be exempted as long as it isn't a case of the owners raking in huge sums on the work of others. 

        The above would make it in the owners best interest to offer a fair wage when they can, but no penalize those that truely cannot.

        As far as not doing business in Cayman, no company that is "portable" finance/lawyers/etc would be hit by this as they don't pay those shockingly low pay amounts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually there's a statutory requirement to keep books and records. It's in the Companies Law. But like everything else here, it's never enforced.

  5. Anonymous says:

    "The minister described the issue as “a real sinkhole” that had the potential to be increasingly complicated."  That is what happens when you have someone completely useless at the helm.  Who is at the helm –  Tara "I don't vote on difficult issues" Rivers.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Might as well have Curwell, Kirky, Rudy, Frick, Frack, Moe, Larry and Curly on this Committe. All one has to do is take a look who is on there now and blind Bartemeus can see this whole excercise is one of futility. Ask yourself howmany of them have outside businesses that a minimum wage will affect the PNL statements every year. How convenient, a Committe of govt appointed members who will do as directed by the political directorate of the country. In the end, we will get a new cruise port and a new airport before we get a minimum wage…..so let's not hold our breath cause neither one of the 3 is gonna be happening anytime soon.

  7. Anonymous says:

    "The minister described the issue as “a real sinkhole” and the issue has the potential to be increasingly complicated".

    The preceding, is most likely a prelude to an upcoming report from the committee of 19!

    • And Another Ting says:

      What's the matter with you people. By now you must have arrived at what the average  amount of good services cost on average . From this you should be able to establish a band of minimum to high, which gives the politicos a range to start from with graduated increases over a period of time. What the dam Sam hill does Winston Tara and the rest of you think that time waiting on you. No sah, such unadulterated bureaucratic nonsense has never been seen in this land. And Nother Ting ona be careful with this new Labor department hiring YA disrespecting your own people and what does that bring, discent , unrest and a swift kick in the derrière next election. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    $5 is fine as a MW, how this will not improve employment, Chatting with a young family member over the weekend who has benn unemployed for a few months told me he would work for less than $15 per hr becuase thats what his last boss payed him ( and this was not even full time work, maybe 30hrs per week) he was offered a full time work @ $8 ph @ 45 hpwith probably 10 OT pw, he told me this was too little money to work..Hmmm!!!! so as a family member he was happy to work for us for $6 ph, rum,food and smokes, Not sure our youth have a f… clue!!!

    back MW owning our own business (restuarant) or staff start at 5ph and can go up to $6.50. they work 42hrs per week and get approx dialy tips of $100 per day, fequently more. We are very lucky out of 15 staff we have 9 caymanians working for us, we defintely are not the norm. I can let you know if MW does happen and they put it in at $7 our prices will raise and customers will leave, therefore a 100% caymanian company will close, and this will happen to alot of us smaller companies..

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem illiterate and so does your young family member, you shouldn’t exploit him but enlighten him and educate him. Your a moron.

    • Anonymous says:

      For goodness sake READ your posts before sending them! Not only is this illiterate, but it doesn't even make sense. Presumably there's an all-important "not" missing? 

  9. Anonymous says:

    In the meantime prices, fees etc are going up and profits arethrough the roof.

    When wages go up, people have more to spent and that will stimulate business.

    Don't believe those opposing minimum wages, because they just want the wealth for themselves.

    • Anonymous says:



      Obviously you have never taken an economics class and heard of inflation.  A mnimum wage will increase the cost of living because the increase in salary will increase the cost of the good or service. The company will not take the hit.  The customers will.  Cayman already has a high cost of living.  Why make it even higher?

      • Dread On Dread says:

        So the companies that do business here don't mark up their goods and services over the cost is what you are really saying. So if a minimum wage is imposed which provides more purchasing power is implemented, the profitability will go down and therefore the merchant will mark up again to cover the minimum wage. What a level of piracy, ona peop le its time to kick butt ona hear, it's time.

        • Anonymous says:

          Of course they do. That is how they make a profit.  That is why a business exists. It is not a charity.

          • Dread On Dread says:

            You know what  is true is that there is already a built in cushion by the market that can withstand a percentage increase in wages. Remember cost of goods plus freight and duty, then an added profit to cover your costs then a 150 or more percent mark up. The merchants are rolling fat, squeeze them Jah, they can ford to increase their wages just a title  less on the bottom line which will still improve when people have more money to spend.

      • Anonymous says:

        So basically we should except them paying people slave wages while they make the money?

        Unfortunately that is exactly what is happening in Cayman. The reality is as you said they will pass on the added cost to the consumer or cut jobs or go out of business.

      • Anonymous says:

        i wonder who your economics teacher was  …

        if a company can't pay 5 bucks MINIMUM , then they should NOT be in business

        many people make the same now,  that was paid 25 years ago !!

        SHAME on government ….5 bucks !!! really ? 5 BUCKS minimum ?  we cant pay go with that ?

      • Anonymous says:

        I actually have a degree in economics. 

        It is not a simple as you suggest.

        In California, not so long ago, wages in the foodsector were increased considerably, the feared effect of inflation was surpassed by an increase in productivity as a result of proper pay.

        Paying a gardner 3 US is a disgrace to humanity. 

        It is about the right balance between the people at the top and the ones on the bottom.

         

  10. Anonymous says:

    The minimum age at $5 per hour will save money when it comes to labor. So instead of paying $10 that i think is fair for labor I will only have to pay $5

     Thus I can hire more people.

    I am also going to tell my attorney that instead of $300 per hour he will have to go to $200 per hour and if he complains i will have my laborers ask him why they are only worth $5 yet he is worth $300 I cant wait to see the look and hear what he has to say

  11. Anonymous says:

    PPM and their committie scape-goats. What a farce and shame this present government is!

  12. Anonymous says:

    So, the rich continue to get richer snd the poor, poorer….

  13. Anonymous says:

    $4 per hour for minimum as many business in cayman can’t afford to pay labour more than the minimum. How about all MLA and senior government have 20% pay cut and all civil service must pay pension and health insurance which it will easily reduced wage bill means lower ‘hidden taxes rates’ like fuel duty, etc. People will able spend more at reasonable prices then minimum wage will go up in the future. Low pay don’t push local out of labour market, it is just THEY won’t do the job as they want work in cosy a/c offices, that why we import labour.

    • Anonymous says:

      The real reason we import people is to keep wages down. What do you think would happen if we didnt issue any permits for gardeners, laborers, garbage collectors etc. I dont think you would need a minimum wage more like a maximum. 

  14. Concerned 1 says:

    Official Translation

    Chamber of Commerce and the business community do not want a minimum bill to pass. The sad part about this whole thing is that these same business owners are contibuting to the decline in living standards and the increase in the crime rate by not wanting to pay a fair wage.

    How many high school graduates are still un-employed because a business preffers to hire a work permit slave for $3 per hour? Look at all the countries that have outsourcing as a practice and see the path they are on. UK (welfare state) US (Becoming welfare state) since they started outsourcing labor to places like China and India their economies have lost purchasing power and crime is on the rise. Is this what we are trying to achive?

    Once Cayman becomes another crime ridden Island, and it will if things like this continue, then all other aspects of the economy will fall. Tourism will be limited to policed areas like Jamaica. Banking has already taken a hit and is not projected to improve anytime soon. The imported slaves are not buying anything on island and the people who are willing to work for $3 per hour can only afford the basics.

    Think about it, you can only serve 1 master. The good of the Island or the good of the business community.    

    • Anonymous says:

      It is about supply and demand.  So instead of making some money, they would rather stay home and rob?

    • Anonymous says:

      What are you talking about?  The Chamber supports MW!!  

      • Anonymous says:

        Yea with the emphasis on minimum. It will be like when the Government mandated pensions. Companies that were paying 100% started paying 50% because that was all they had to.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hey PPM

    What's the rush? Thought you said in 2013 there is plan to deal with this upon getting elected.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Whata mess eh? More time to tell people the minimum wage should start at $5 per hour

  17. Anonymous says:

    RESIGN NOW TARA

    • Anonymous says:

      She is a one term wonder – she'll be history after the next election.. but forever honorable.

       

  18. Anonymous says:

    What should be considered is why must it take so long. The cost of goods and services continue to rise. This Committee should have been given a timeframe if three months max. Delays do not save homes from foreclosure nor do it assist the employable unemployed to be hired and it does not keep food on the table. But it was anticipated that it would go this way because everyone on this Committee is financially stable and they are not the ones suffering. What a shame!

    • Anonymous says:

      THANK You I agree 100% but you left out CUC and the outrageous Fuel Charges and everything went up at the supermarkets

  19. Anonymous says:

    You mean committees are "real sink-holes" Tara.

    That's what happens when you won't take a position on something and instead delegate the hard decisions to a group of unpaid, part-time volunteers with little expertise and even less time.

    This is not the way it has to be.  

  20. Anonymous says:

    Minimum wage should be no lower than $7.00 CI dollars.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your kidding right? Pension insurance rent / mortgage payment cuc gas food just the basics.

      A survey of these : + inflation – 1988 Cost of living vs. 2014’s

      IJS

      • Anonymous says:

        No I am not kidding. I do not think anything less is reasonable. My CI$7.00 is just that!

         

      • Anonymous says:

        And it is you are, which is you're, not "your" kidding right? If you do not know the difference between your and you're then you have no room to comment on this topic, it's over YOUR head.

        Peace.

  21. A Struggling Merchant says:

    Qoote: "Many people believe that the introduction of a minimum wage is an essential element in the fight to reduce Caymanian unemployment."  

    It is not!  It will increase unemployment.

              
    Quote:"Low-paid workers or locals who are being pushed out of the labour market because of the falling wages won’t be given any relief."  

    How are low-paid workers being pushed out of the labor market? If you were going to hire someone, would you hire people demanding the highest pay?
                 
    It would be great if everyone made big bucks and could drive big new cars, but let's get real.  It doesn't work that way.  If a minimum wage law is enacted, all wages near the minimum wage level will increase.  That sounds good, but it will add to inflation.  The people selling goods will have to raise their prices in order to stay inbusiness.  If too high wages are forced on employers they will, out of necessity, cut back on their work force or go out of business.  Result…. more unemployment.

    Maybe you should listen to current employment minister.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the minister does not support minimum wage she should say that now and then resign

    • Anonymous says:

      Just look at the countries that have introduced minimum wage.  Read the research too and you will find that in fact the introduction of a minimum does not increase unemployment.  The strange fact is that it actually appears to do the opposite.  It can act to stimulate the economy and there is no wholesale closure of businesses.

      • X Pat says:

        I can't see where it's done more than cause inflation in the U.S.  It sure never helped me!

    • Dread On Dread says:

      And how about the high mark ups you have for your profit margin, doesn't that increase the cost of goods, which people tjat don't have a livable wage can't afford to buy. Selfish close YA shop and go work fe dart or government.people like you who probably have foreign workers is what creates the problems thse islands face.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I can imagine how that conversation went: "we tried downloading a pre-written report off the internet but couldn't figure out how the printer worked, so we're actually going to have to write one ourselves. It will take at least another 6 months, and that's if we work Friday afternoons. We will need 42 external consultants so that we have someone to blame if anything goes wrong. Estimated cost is $5m including 95 fact finding trips overseas and a new fleet of vehicles." – NWDA.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I congratulate the government for tackling this minimum wage issue which has been conveniently ignored for decades. This issue is fundamental to the immigration / work permit issue, as businesses here are all to willing to hire via work permits as most of the applicants are willing to work for the meager wages offered. Most of these work permit holders do not desire to buy land, build a house, etc. and therefore can exist here on the poor wages, while they send their savings home to buy land, build homes, and school children in their home country,

    Our Caymanians are here for the long haul, and desire to own land, homes, and enjoy a good standard of living. This they cannot do on the wages paid to the foreign work permit holders. Therefore, until we raise the minimum wage to a level that gives Caymanians a fair chance, nothing will ever change in immigration policies to protect them.

    One other point I want to make is this, why do we continue to give so many work permits to certain foreigners who live in overcrowded accomodation, live excessively cheaply, spending little or nothing in the local economy, and starving local businesses and services of revenue they need to survive. Government also suffers a loss of revenue as a result of this. All these people do is syphon dollars out of the Cayman economy and make it even more deflated.

    I sincerely trust that the government is genuinely serious on this issue of minimum wage, and not just going through the motions, to slowly bury it quietly. It is a corner stone to the solution of Caymanian employment and immigration issues.

    Think on these things.

  24. Anon says:

    Can the members of this commits be named, please?  You could go out and pick the first 10 people you see to,form such a committee and they could tell you in very short order what the minimum is for a person to live at an acceptable level.