CIG asks public to review $8.75/hour basic pay

| 08/03/2024 | 33 Comments
Chief Officer Wesley Howell at the press briefing

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government is seeking public comment on the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee’s long-awaited report, made public this week, and the recommendation to implement a new basic national minimum wage of just CI$8.75. No one from the elected arm of government has indicated whether or not the MWAC’s recommendations will be accepted and the rate will be increased anytime soon, if at all.

A press briefing about the report, which took more than a year to prepare, was held Wednesday, but no members of the UPM attended to present the CIG’s position on the document.

Chief Officer Wesley Howell said he was there on behalf of the labour ministry and Minister Dwayne Seymour because, at this stage, it was still “a listening exercise” as the government wanted to hear back from the public and employers. He said the ministry would be gathering feedback for the next month. Then, the minister will take it all to Cabinet for a final decision.

Howell indicated that while a Cabinet decision may be only weeks away, the legislation will need to be changed to address the MWAC’s recommendations to phase out the carve-out for employers in the hospitality industry to count gratuities as part of the minimum wage, and that could take months.

Howell confirmed that the CIG has not yet made any decision about the recommendations. The government is under no obligation to accept the recommendations, as the entire review process was to advise in light of the clear inadequacy of the current $6 per hour rate. This now falls below Cayman’s poverty line and has been drastically devalued, given the high level of inflation since it was first implemented in 2016.

Howell noted that it is a political decision, but there is public pressure to increase the basic wage, and the government knows this “has to be done” because it has been some time since it was looked at. The CIG now has a comprehensive document that includes data-based research and comments submitted by people and organisations during last year’s public consultation.

However, since the report was handed to the CIG, Labour Minister Dwayne Seymour has stated that it might not implement a basic wage across all sectors because of the “financially crippling” costs for Caymanians, especially those who employ domestic help. But as an employer of low-paid workers in his baggage handling company, Seymour is clearly conflicted in this matter.

When CNS asked Howell if he would be advising the minister to recuse himself from the discussions, he said that was a matter for Seymour. “He is the labour minister and has responsibility here,” he said.

The consultation on the MWAC report is now open. Members of the public can send their views on the proposed increase, the phasing out of the gratuities subsidy, and the implementation of a new regime that will see the rate increase very slightly every two years, depending on the rate of inflation.

See the report in the CNS Library.

Feedback can be emailed to until midnight on 9 April.

See the press briefing here.

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Category: Policy, Politics

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If anyone running a business and cannot afford to pay Waves of $8.75 ph. then they should fold up their rinky-dink business and go get a job paying $8.75 ph.

  2. Anonimous says:

    Comfortable and affordable housing is an essential part of any stable society and community

    The “shortage of affordable housing” is not so much an overall shortage, but a shortage of low-cost housing.

    In the early 1980s, 40% of new homes were “entry-level” homes (i.e., homes of less than 1,400 square feet)

    If our government could help one person get off or stop using drugs, help them find employment, even if it is being self employed selling sodas, chicken n chips or jerking chicken, help them restore and regain some dignity in there lives and give them some degree of hope to be in a more productive stable person in a more stable inviornment and make there lives better, get there own home and transpertation that they can afford, we would have one less person in our community and our society to worry about commiting crimes, other civil offenses and going astray

    Ultimately regaining the type of harmonious friendly Island and community that our parents grew up in, where we were once considered a place of friendly people with petty, little or no crime

    This is something our government should really sit down and think about when it comes to our local residents rehabilitation process to qualify for free drug addiction recovery programs with entraprenueral self employment opportunities and funding options from our Cayman Islands Development Bank, free required regular drug testing and free clinical family, personal and professional counciling and coaching resources available and a free government owned and operated small business development center assistance, lower costing or more affordable homes and multi-store apartments or condos on multiple floors for persons earning less than $2,000 or $3,000 a month to be able to afford

    These are just a few possibile solutions that may help our citizens who are kicking, screaming, begging and asking for help to achive the basic necessities all developed societies offer

    In-addition to this, it may just help curb, reduce or put a stop to the increasing number of crimes that is committed on our Island, where so many people are concerned about what is happening on our Island and the direction we are headed

  3. Anonymous says:

    How many employees does John John have currently on $6 an hour. That’s really the only question that needs to be asked.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It should be at $12 . John is an idiot. How is it he is in this position.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t the reason why housekeepers are paid so little is because they live in the house and all housing, food, and utilities are free, paid for in kind?

  6. Anonimous says:

    Ministry asks people to weigh in on PlanCayman, again

    Comfortable and affordable housing is an essential part of any stable community

    The “shortage of affordable housing” is not so much an overall shortage, but a shortage of low-cost housing.

    In the early 1980s, 40% of new homes were “entry-level” homes (i.e., homes of less than 1,400 square feet)

    Dog City and Randyke Gardens and the Affordable Housing property next to Cox by Dog City, where the first Affordable Homes were initially built, could be re-developed possibly knocking down the existing homes and building Multi-Store Apartments or Condo complexes on multiple floors to provide existing home owners and there families an apartment or condo and selling the other affordable apartments or condos to low and middle income Caymanians to repay the cost to build them

    New Multi-Store Affordable Apartments or Condos could have a pool or pools and possibly other amenities like:

    A Gym
    Net Ball Courts
    Basketball Courts
    Squash Room(s)
    5-A Side Football

    Monthly Strata Payments are part of the expenses in owning an Apartment or Condo and so is Building(s) and Yard Maintance, in-addition to Home and Life Insurance

    Home and Life Insurance is a bank requirement for a bank mortgage and are usually included and paid monthly by making Monthly Strata Payments

    If PWD, CINICO & the CIDB can engage themselves into a mutual agreement to build Affordable Apartments or Condos for Caymanians that would only include the cost of building materials and labor, eliminating the builders profits; and selling these apartments or condos for the building cost, hundreds of Caymanians would be able to own there own home, i.e apartment or condo with a viriety of sporting athletic activities with a Day Care and after school home work Child Care Center

    These Multi-Store Affordable Apartments / Condos could be built in:

    George Town
    Bodden Town
    North Side
    East End
    West Bay &
    Cayman Brac

    for low and middle income Caymanians earning less than $2,000 or $3,000 per month

    These Multi-Family Affordable Apartments / Condos could also include a covered seating Food Court(s) like what is in the US Malls with Multiple Food Vendors selling local food like Turtle, Oxtail, Conch etc…. to Chicken n Chips and Jerk Chicken for Caymanian families may have a comfortable mixed use living development to live in

    A proper Day Care and an After School Home Work Child Care Study Area/Center ran by our government with three or four of our retired teachers could assist At-Risk-Youth

    Single Parent(s)

    Affordable Studio One Bedroom Apartments / Condos built by our Government Developers PWD, CINICO & CIDB and sold at the building cost of materials and labor only

    One Bed Room / Two Baths

    Kitchen / Dining & Living

    20′ * 40′ = 800□ @ $85□

    40 yr Mortgage – $68,000

    Interest Rate 6%

    Appx Monthly Pmt $425

    Monthly Strata appx $300

    Single Parent(s)

    Two Bedroom Apartments / Condos built by our Government Developers PWD, CINICO & CIDB and sold at the building cost of materials and labor

    Two Bed Room / Two Baths

    Kitchen / Dining & Living

    35′ * 30′ = 1050□ @ $85□

    40 yr Mortgage – $89,250

    Interest Rate 6%

    Appx Monthly Pmt $471

    Monthly Strata appx $300

    In-addition to proper After School Programs, each Multi-Family Complex could also offer Summer & Christmas Child Care Programs and PWD Maintaince Staff could also be be provided with a Public/Private Partnership with the Government to maintain these apartments or condo premises

  7. Anonimous says:

    Job Creation and Jobs Report

    With so many locals unemployed who may have gave up looking for work because most businesses simply cannot afford to pay there employees anything more than a Minimum Wage to pay for basic necessities like rent/mortgage, utilities, food and transpertation, and hire staff with wages that only foriegn workers are willing to work for that are causing our local people to turn to our government Social Welfare Program for assistance that is putting a strain on our government resources and funding

    Why don’t our government consider creating a Government Uniforms Department to make uniforms for government workers and school kids, School Bags/Backpacts and Computer Cases/Bags, Government Legal Pad Note Book Portfolios and offer our local unemployed, Senior Retirerees who’s Pension is insufficient to keep pace with the Cost of Living increases, in-addition to hiring unemployed High School Graduates and pay them a livable wage of $12 or $15 Hourly Wage

    This may help ease the burden of so many people that are struggling, emotionally, socially and economically

  8. Anonymous says:

    If the Minister cannot be bothered to show up and and answer questions why should I bother to give my feedback? He clearly isnt interested in implementing the new wage or making any changes.

    This is the Government you all voted for ? Wayne Panton started this mess in 2021 and it has spiraled downhill every since.

    But you all will probably vote them all in again.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If someone pays you minimum wage all it means is “I would pay you less but it’s illegal”. $8.75 isn’t a paycheck. Also you should review gratuity and disbursement also. I’m sure the house is taking its fair share there also. I wish they would make a law that they can’t add gratuity to the bill here. It’s just 15% that isn’t deserved half the time.

  10. Anonymous says:

    We want to be consulted about Ministers wages and conflicts.

  11. Anonymous says:

    cayman christianity

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is typical government. They’ll ask the public to review and not consider it.

  13. Jus Dis says:

    Minimum wage should be at least double the current rate! Let’s not forget that Cayman is consistently rated in the top 3 most expensive places in the world to live.

    • Anonymous says:

      In countries where milk is about $2.40/gal. CI, people pay (rent or own) a dwelling roughly 1/3 their gross pay. True there are no income taxes here but do the math and find housing for that here for less than $12.00/hour.

    • Anonymous says:

      0ver $13 or more dollars per hour it must be. because cost of living is horrible for lower income workers to survive..sad

  14. Anonymous says:

    A majority of our local and expat workers work or slave in the hotel and restaurant/tourism sector, at a Minimum of $4.49/hour!! For many years now!
    Why the delays in a Liveable Wage ..
    Not a crappy Minimum Wage that only breeds crime and cheap international workers, while stifling young and older locals who are shut out of these great services that we built it from scratch with the so called Caymankind??
    Two Christmases have passed since this stingy Committee was appointed. I’m sure their families would not have survived on Minimum Wages.
    The Minister has publicly stated that he is against it..but he employs many expats in this low category! Conflicted!!
    No. This is not a “political decision”.. it’s a matter of life and death, as Government states that even $6 is a “Starvation Wage”!!
    Not to mention the pizpoor benefits for these many poorly paid workers!
    eg. CINICO insurance that has a premium costing more than the benefits available..Criminal!!
    Pensions are inadequate.
    Our Local youth unemployment is the HIGHEST sector unemployed, who should be the key workers, healthy and in their teens and 20s.
    Cayman is Sold Out Cheap!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Seymour is clearly conflicted in this matter. Not conflicted. Dead against it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seymour is an utter joke and waste of time. How can he be in charge of labor?

    • Anonymous says:

      Leave Honorable Seymour alone as he treats us good and looks out to help us. You rich people don’t like him because he is for us poor people.

      • anon says:

        Poor Caymanian people maybe.

      • Anonymous says:

        He is for Dwayne Seymour. How can you say his trying to keep the minimum wage down is for poor people? It helps employers like him – rich people – and Caymanians employing domestic helpers – also rich people. It reduces the wages available to low paid employees, who tend to be poor people. Just because he gives you a turkey for Christmas and mouths off about protecting Caymanians without actually doing anything doesn’t make him a representative for the poor.

    • Anonymous says:

      With such an obvious conflict of interest, how can he seriously hold the position he has? He exploits his workforce apparently and yet he’s the minister for labour!! It’s madness.

      He would vote for zero days of sick or annual leave if he could I don’t doubt. He’d happily vote to make workers pay their own permits as well I would imagine because why WOULDNT a business owner do that?

      This is madness

    • anon says:

      Govt can shell out CI$54,400 a year for “hardup” Caymanians but drag their feet in paying $8.75 an hour to thousands of work permit holders who work very for their paltry hourly wage.Do we in fqct have a Minister of Hard Labour?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Do it as the committee has suggested. They actually seem to have balanced interests with logic which is rare nowadays.

  17. Anonymous says:

    minimum wage is dismal at best. but we all know all service related businesses are going to use this as a excuse to jack prices up exponentially, rendering those who benefitted from the wage increase to suffer even more.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I know Jon Jon doesn’t have enough fingers and toes to work this out for himself, but if someone tells the Minister for Labour it’s a 45% raise for his staff, all of whom are foreign work permit holders, then it ain’t gonna happen!

  19. Anonymous says:


  20. Anon says:

    FFS. We were consulted already. I filled out the survey myself. Just give the hard working labourers of these Islands a raise already.


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