Minister Jason Hayward’s Labour Day Message

September 5, 2022 | 0 Comments

[Labour Day message from Minister of Labour Jason Hayward]

Happy Labour Day Bermuda!

Today we pause to recognize and celebrate a very important day in our calendar. As Minister of Economy and Labour, I take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to each and every worker for the contributions you make to our Island home.

As Minister, I have been steadfast in my efforts to ensure legislation and policies are progressed to not only better the working conditions of Bermuda’s workers but also to ensure persons are prepared and ready to join the current and future world of work.

Covid-19, rising inflation, supply chain disruptions and other labour market challenges have hampered the global economic recovery. Notwithstanding these challenges, Bermuda’s economy has remained resilient and continues to trend in a positive direction. The Government of Bermuda will continue to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

Over the last 12 months, our priority has been to ensure Bermuda’s economic recovery, and it goes without saying that the workers of this country are a vital and integral part of that recovery.

It would be remiss if I did not recognize the many workers and their families struggling to make ends meet. The pressures associated with the cost of living and lagging job recovery continue to challenge the quality of life for many Bermudians.

In response, this Government will continue to find ways to provide relief and support to alleviate the stress experienced by workers and their families.

Bermuda’s Youth Employment Strategy

This Government has been deliberate in its efforts to target our youth as they will play a significant role in contributing to and sustaining our economy. Our Youth Employment Strategy addresses current youth unemployment by facilitating greater opportunities and educational pathways for all young Bermudians between 18 and 26 years old.

To achieve this goal, the Government will:

  • Facilitate access to training and employment opportunities for Bermuda’s youth;
  • Provide career guidance and resources for Bermuda’s youth;
  • Support access to work experience opportunities such as internships, traineeships and apprenticeships;
  • Motivate Bermuda’s youth to develop the highest level of proficiency in their chosen field;
  • Ensure that qualified and competent young people are provided opportunities for development, mentoring, coaching and growth to support promotion within their chosen career; and
  • Remove entry-level barriers for young persons seeking employment.

Promotion and Support for Entrepreneurs

It is now well known that entrepreneurship can be a viable option in terms of job satisfaction and overcoming difficulties in finding employment.

As Bermuda’s economic recovery requires getting more people working, the BEDC is actively supporting and growing Bermuda’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over the last year, the Government has supported the BEDC in providing:

  • Summer Student Entrepreneurship Programme
  • BEDC’s Annual Youth Pitch competition
  • Enterprise Bermuda Incubator
  • Enterprise Bermuda Accelerator
  • Financial Relief Programs

The Government will continue to support local entrepreneurs and assist them in creating new products and services. They stimulate employment opportunities critical to the Government’s economic growth and development strategy.

Implementation of a Minimum Wage

As the Minister for Economy and Labour, I cannot tell you how pleased I am to announce that after decades of consecutive governments beingaccused of “kicking the can down the road”, this Government will implement a statutory minimum wage rate in Bermuda.

This Government continues to demonstrate its commitment to workers. We have taken a human-centred approach. The implementation of a minimum wage reflects the social justice ethos of the Progressive Labour Party Government, ensuring that a fair day’s wage is paid for a fair day’s work.

And so, designed to be a statutory wage floor, it is proposed that Bermuda’s minimum wage will be set between $16.00 and $16.40, which will be considered one of the highest in the world.

Hospitality workers who receive tips and gratuities and personal care workers who primarily receive remuneration through commission will have a minimum wage set at 75% of the ordinary minimum wage, equating to a fixed rate of between $12 and $12.30.

Since the 2020 election, the Government has launched the National Jobs Strategy and the Youth Employment Strategy, in addition to many other policy initiatives, which aim to promote economic security for workers across all job sectors and experience levels. Building a wage floor is another feature of the Economic Recovery Plan, which will improve the lives of many Bermudians.

Now more than ever, it is crucial to establish a minimum wage to ensure that all segments of our society have access to their basic needs. This Government promises to provide social protection to all Bermudians.

Although more work must be done to achieve a living wage rate for Bermuda, this is a monumental step. Workers will now be assured a respectable and decent wage as it sets a basic standard for all employers when hiring staff for their businesses.

Position Paper

The Ministry of Economy and Labour has created a position paper entitled Establishing a Minimum Wage in Bermuda. This Paper aims to state the Government’s position on establishing a statutory minimum wage rate for Bermuda and outline why it is necessary. The Paper is available for review from the Resources section in the Ministry of Economy and Labour webpage on gov.bm.

Again, I want to take the opportunity to note and recognize the vital contribution of the workers of this country. I thank you for your dedication to Bermuda and wish you all A Happy Labour Day!!!

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