CURB Welcomes Living/Minimum Wage Report

July 23, 2018

The report from the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on the Establishment of a Minimum/Living Wage has been released, with the report suggesting a phased approach to implementation.


The report said, “Wage levels that are set too high will wreak havoc on our economy. With this in mind, the proposals of the JSC include recommendations that suggest the introduction of a statutory minimum wage in 2019, and transitioning to a higher, living wage in 2021.

“The phased approach was deemed necessary and prudent, and is intended to allow sufficient time for extensive consultation, and to enable businesses to have a realistic time frame within which they can transition and, where necessary, adjust to the higher labour costs that will be incurred with the employment of low to medium skilled workers across a range of occupational categories.

“Therefore, it is proposed that phase one in respect of the application of the statutory minimum wage rate, intended to be applied across the board, will be as follows:

a] “1 May 2019: Institute a wage of BD$12.25 per hour, which at 40 hours per week over a standard 52 week period will produce a [gross] income/wage that will represent 40% of the median wage income of BD$63,712. This proposed statutory wage rate falls within the recommended range advocated by the ILO’s Minimum Wage Guide.

b]  1 May 2020 – Establish the Living Wage Threshold Rate: Based on data compiled by the Department of Statistics, the relevant household size and number of workers per household is that of a single adult wage-earner and a household size consisting of a single adult. Accordingly, the RLIT derived threshold calculation sets the phase one/year one liveable wage at BD$18.23 per hour.

The full 30-page report is available below.

CURB’s Comments

A CURB spokesperson said, “It has been two years since then Opposition member MP Rolfe Commissiong’s motion was passed with unanimous bi-partisan and historic support in the House on June 17th, 2016 for a bi-partisan Joint Select Committee to investigate the establishment of a living wage. A rare collaboration and a hope of things to come.

“Both the OBA and the PLP had the introduction of a Living Wage in Bermuda as part of their 2017 election platforms and following the election a new bi-partisan Joint Select Committee was formed with Rolfe Commissiong as Chairman and Leah Scott as Deputy Chairman. Public meetings and various stakeholders presented to the JSC from across the community, and CURB was one of many stakeholders to present.

“The work of the JSC demonstrates the ability of bi-partisanship in making important decisions that affect the welfare of so many of Bermuda’s people, especially the 20+ percent who live in poverty even though working a 35 to 40-hour work week.

“CURB’s call for a Living Wage in Bermuda was published in its 2014 Racial Justice Platform and in early 2015 a CURB opinion piece was released to the media outlining the need for a Living Wage and calling for a bi-partisan group to make recommendations that included a living wage and/or payroll tax relief for those earning less than $40,000 p.a.

“CURB’s 2015 opinion noted that people who had previously been employed full time, had become desperate even to get part-time work. With hourly wages beginning at $6.00 an hour, even working a 48-hour work week that is barely $15,000 p.a. gross, a farce in a country where the 2000 Census showed households earning below $36,000 p.a. as being poor with 19% living below the poverty line.

“In the 2008 Low Income Thresholds: A Study of Bermuda Households in Need report, the Relative Low Income Threshold was $41,132 p.a.

“The 2010 census shows that households earning less than $52,000 p.a. were below the poverty line and based on the inflation rate since 2010 these figures translate into a likely poverty line of $56,000 p.a. in 2014.

“The 2013 Bermuda Employment Survey shows that the bottom 5% of job holders [22,540 jobs] who worked 35 hours or more per week earn $21,000 p.a. or less. The bottom 10% earn $33,000 or less, and the bottom 20% earn $42,000 or less.

“Worryingly, the 2016 Census shows that disparities continue, the income gap is widening, and an increasing number of Bermudians are failing to make ends meet. With both parties recognizing the desperate need to introduce such legislation for the welfare of the people of Bermuda, it is therefore commendable that the bi-partisan Joint Select Committee have committed to the many meetings and hours of work necessary to bring this legislation before the House for debate

“CURB is hopeful that the bi-partisan/collaborative approach continues in the House of Assembly when this matter is debated in the coming weeks.”

The Report of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (16)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “This proposed statutory wage rate falls within the recommended range advocated by the ILO’s Minimum Wage Guide.”

    Ok, that may be a good thing. What about recommendations made by the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, particularly the restaurant and hotel sections of the Chamber? If we are doubling the hourly wage of tipped staff and still intend to change 15% gratuities that makes a difference to the bill. Will the relevant unions in Bermuda allow the automatic gratuities to be reduced on account of the increased hourly wage or will the consumer simply pay more?

    These are questions that should have already been addressed but which do not appear to be answered in the article above.

  2. Mrs Brady says:

    I predict that the minimum wage will be introduced and will cause job losses. As a direct result, the livable wage will not be introduced.

  3. sandgrownan says:

    Well, I for one have been waiting for CURB’s response so I would know what to think.

  4. Ben S. says:

    Usual nonsense from CURB that makes some people feel virtuous yet anyone with an economic GCSE qualification will know this will only hurt everyone. CURB, the same group that chatters on about ‘privilege’. I must admit, the coffee that I bought this morning was priced at $2.50. My ‘white privilege’ discount brought it down to $2.50.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Crikey, where do you buy your coffee? Although I suppose it isn’t a double skinny almond latte. With soy milk.

      • Ben S. says:

        Just a regular coffee. I avoid the fair trade, hemp infused, non GMO, triple half caf skinny soy latte with a cherry on top. All the SJW’s love those so much :)

  5. Justin says:

    This is just another tax in disguise. Employees will earn a higher wage which will mean more tax. And you know what they say about taxes? The consumer bears the cost of it in the end. So the price of bread will increase in price accordingly which means peoples’ standard of living will remain unchanged or worse, because some people will lose jobs because of this. Well done, PLP. LOL

    • sandgrownan says:

      The problem is that a living wage, minimum wage, universal basic income (I appreciate they are not exactly the same thing) do need to be paid for from somewhere. The issue is that Bermuda is broke, largely thanks to 15 years of PLP incompetence, and that the only way left to fund this is to collect more taxes.

      Since the PLP don’t like “furriners”, and any broadening of the tax base through organic growth, growing demand for goods and services, the only option is to tax the existing population more. Let’s see how that works out. The OBA understood this and even minor steps to increase the long term population were met with marches and hateful rhetoric.

      Bitcoin isn’t going to be the answer.

  6. Mark says:

    Arent these the people that defended burch’s racist comments? Why are they still here? They have lost all credibility.

  7. Really says:

    A reall bunch of intelligent people that do not have a clue about economics. Burt and his boys will run this island to the ground you watch. They best seek some outside intelligent people that can help them.Be mindful the ones that do not look like will not feel inclined to assist. After all the insults you have shown them. Carry on boys still much more damage you all achieve. Lord help these people show them some common sense at least.

  8. Real Deal says:

    hmm dose not seem like it will work with just this. i think it would be better to work on reducing shipping cost then work on this. just my $0.02

    • sick & tired says:

      I think we would be better off trying to fix the high high high cost of health insurance. A single parent with child or children will now pay an additional $226.00 per month. With people living paycheck to paycheck, how do you propose they afford this? By the time they get their first increase in their wage, the insurance will rise again.

      • Real Deal says:

        high high high cost of health insurance is already on their radar/table. logical i don’t think that it is as important at the high high shipping cost.

        In other words I don’t think the impact of fixing heath care will create growth needed to help fix other areas.

        If they look at fixing shipping cost the impact will be very great. because shipping cost will be directly tied into may other areas.

        I have a few ideas like creating a Caribbean a partnership network. where local business can find part partners to build buying power enabling them to buy directly from the factories. after we get something like this in place then we need to have quality inspections since the inspection would be done by the middle man anymore.

  9. cpm says:

    What are the refuse technicians doing while my trash is still in the street from last Wednesday and I am in the premier’s area?

  10. overboardhope says:

    People sharing in a tip pool, do not need a higher wage.