Chamber voices utmost displeasure with the timing and manner of announcement on new minimum wage


Notice of the New National Basic Minimum Wage

It has been brought to the attention of the Chamber that the Labour Department of Antigua and Barbuda has issued a public notice, dated 26th January, 2023, informing that:

“The Minister responsible for Labour has ordered a Minimum Basic Wage of nine dollars ($9.00) per hour for employment in Antigua and Barbuda, effective 1st January, 2023.”

The Chamber wishes to voice its utmost displeasure with the timing and manner with which the “Minister responsible” has issued such notice. Our protest is prompted on the following grounds:

The Minister responsible has created unnecessary angst for many affected businesses by issuing the notice on the day before payday (26th January, 2023) and for simultaneously making the implementation of the Minimum Wage retroactive by setting the effective date as of 1 January, 2023.

Further, the notice comes when most of the affected businesses would have already completed payroll and have already sent paychecks to their employees’ bank accounts.

The Minister responsible, in our opinion acted without regard for how such retroactive implementation on the eve of a payday would have stoked unnecessary tension between employer and employees, by giving the false impression that the affected employers might be deliberately failing to comply with the law.

As was previously mentioned, some affected employers had already processed their payrolls before the Minister’s order was made public.

The Minister responsible exercised a lack of compassion by ignoring the fact that those affected businesses, which were already feeling the negative effects of an underperforming economy were already dealing with the increase of Social Security contributions, starting this January.

One would have thought that the public notice on the 26th of January, 2023 would have announced the introduction of the new Minimum Wage from the 1st of February, 2023. This is what we would expect a caring government to do.

The Minister responsible should be aware that the effect of this increase in the Minimum Wage, represents a 9.75% increase in payroll cost for certain affected and struggling businesses whose payroll cost are already as high as 80% of income prior to this increase.

Further, the effect of compounding this increase with the Social Security increase and the other payroll taxes, has translated this nine dollar ($9.00) Minimum Wage into an actual $10.26 per hour payment for affected employers.

It is unfortunate that for some of these affected businesses, they will immediately suffer major loses without the opportunity to announce a possible increase in prices for their goods and services or a possible laying off of some staff.

It is very regrettable that this matter could not have been implemented with some degree of care and we hope that this shock would not negatively affect jobs in the affected industries, some examples of which are security firms and gas stations.

We do hope that the Minister responsible would consider the points made and use them to inform the manner and timing of future orders to increase the Minimum Wage.

Yves R. Ephraim

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Chamber of Commerce

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  1. How come the chambers making noise? Why were you silent when the UPP had indicated they were going to give $10.00

  2. If UPP had gone into power they would have crippled these businesses that were struggling. Thank you chamber, YOU ALL DANGEROUS SELF

  3. that “Chamber” is a toothless tiger. A useless entity. Ineffective. An elitist club for people who have over-estimated their importance and think more highly of themselves than they ought to. That “Chamber” has NOT ACHIEVED ANYTHING WORTHWHILE!

  4. Yves R. Ephraim, are you not a part of the gang that was screaming that the 80 cents increase was inadequate? Weren’t you one of the acolytes that was saying it should be at least $10.00 per hour?

    You speak about the manner and timing. If payroll for the month or week was already done, what is the difficulty in paying it at the end of February?

    Much ado about nothing, and a tad dramatic!

  5. @wash basin… Set ah dangerous nearga Dem be. Anyway their actions and statements are proving that UPP”s plans were all pie in the sky. Words haven’t drop to the ground.

  6. Ten million dollars paid out by one individual to political pros*****es just to get back at one man is pure foolishness and desperation dat‼️But, God nah sleep… He nah wear pajamas! Labour win again and the same man made history being the only PM to win three consecutive elections. Tell dem tek dat!

  7. The Chambers of commerce is useless. Employers that was playing below $9.00 are wicked. Don’t know how how some some people can be living in luxury on the back of people living in poverty. As a business person I have been paying $10.00 per hour minimum for over a decades. All you have to do is write your employees and let them know that they will receive their money in the next pay cycle. The only problem is the statuary deduction. That will have to be adjusted and we have until the 14th of February to submit. I am not a fan of the rules administration but I think it is a good decision.

  8. Watch all the bitter alpites, lol!!! You all forget you all win?! Join the DNA in bitterness. Stop the crying man! If the Chamber had done your bidding, you all would be praising them. Tek dat!

    • @SMH…. Bitter Labourites? Seems like you are still feeling the sting of defeat. Contrary to the UPP’s view, their were rejected yet again at the polls. Even when Labour is at its weakest, UPP still cannot defeat us. Ah dat you fu tek!!

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