On Wednesday February 9th 2022, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley met with the representatives of the Social Economic Council (SER) to discuss the increase of the minimum wage on St. Maarten.
The Minister previously sent a request to the advisory council, requesting their feedback on the steps he wishes to take for the implementation of a one time increase, on the minimum wage.
At the time of the request, the Minister could not offer a figure to the SER, as the Ministry was still awaiting the consumer price index (CPI) of the third quarter of 2021, from the department of stats, which has since been received.
The meeting was called by the SER to get a full explanation on what would be the possible figure and why the Minister feels this is the right time to increase the minimum wage.
Minister Ottley listened to the concerns of the business representatives and agreed to take their concerns into consideration. He stated that while he understood their concerns, he reminded the Council that the minimum wage is the legal instrument that protects the workers from being underpaid for their labor. The Minister stated that withholding an increase for so many years now, regardless of the reason, ... is illegal!
Minister Ottley ended the meeting with the promise to have the finalized advice, with the newly proposed calculated amount, sent to the SER within two weeks.