BVI News

Appeal made for government to raise the BVI’s minimum wage

At least one resident from the Seventh Electoral District is urging government to raise the minimum wage in the British Virgin Islands from the hourly rate of $6.

The concerned resident made that appeal at a district meeting held by the constituency’s representative, Dr Natalio Wheatley, at the Stickett in Long Look on Thursday.

Noting the current economic challenges caused by COVID-19, the resident said minimum-wage salaries have proven to be insufficient to sustain a family.

“We are asking for a little elevation at least to ‘$8 an hour’ on our minimum wages,” he said.

“At this time, at whatever is going on, it is not working with our livelihood and I would like to see this ministry take the initiative to take a note of this elevation on our minimum wages. At least pick up from $6 an hour and elevate it to something that would be more beneficial to us as a people,” he further said.

Dr Wheatley promises to address issue

In responding to the concern, Dr Wheatley assured the resident that he will be having discussions with Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley to address the matter.

Dr Wheatley said: “I promise that I will bring that up with him because, of course, we know that the minimum wage was raised some years ago to $6, it actually should have been raised a lot before that.”

“We know when working people have more money in their pockets the economy does better, and this is really what we are about. As the Virgin Islands Party Administration, we want to make sure that persons have livelihood — they are able to feed their families, able to take care of their children’s needs. So it is important that persons have decent wages.”

The minister said improving the territory’s economy will allow for both the private and public sectors to pay better wages.

Last wage increase was in 2016

The minimum wage in the BVI was last increased in October 2016 from an hourly rate of $4 to $6. The increase occurred under the previous National Democratic Party administration.

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  1. Lily says:

    People need to raise their level of Education as well.

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    • Hmmmmmmm says:

      Everybody cannot be on the same level. We still need cleaners, cooks, janitors, sanitation workers, cashiers, etc. Unless, you asking for such persons to get a degree to carry out those duties.

      The minimum wage DEFINITELY needs to be raised to a minimum of $8 and at best $10. Do they not see the cost of shelter, food, bills and children maintenance?

      A lot that have degrees dumber than $hi! – getting a hefty paycheck and not doing the work. And those doing the work because they have experience and worked from the bottom of the ladder up but do not have the degrees are being stifled and cheated. Set of wicked dumb degree thieves. So, a degree doesn’t mean $h!t. Talk that!

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      • Small timer says:

        I have a business with one employee. If I raise their wages I will have to pass that on to customers or else I will go out of business. There are a lot of small business like that in every village. Right now only the food and home places doing well. In a time like this with so many people out of work they have no money to pay higher prices and there aren’t any profits to pay from. ‘Profits’ are months away after the landlord, BVIEC and everyone else gets paid for those months when we couldn’t earn a dime.

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        • Worker says:

          It is the same the employee have to face the landlord,grocery, doctor,childcare,etc.A raise in minimum wage would be good for everyone. If you have a good rapport and your good/ service is up to par your customers will stay so a hike it price wont affect your businesses negatively.

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      • Wize says:

        Remember during covid these same people were on the forefront. I look at these people differently. People have degree but no passion for their jobs.

  2. Huh says:

    Good idea – then more employees will be fired.

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    • Ausar says:

      RAISE IT, already, Honourable Wheatley!

      Now is the time!

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      • boss says:

        and who will pay if no good performance

      • Votes at risk says:

        First responsibility of a politician on being elected is to make sure they a) please their boss and b) get elected again. Doing stuff for people that doesn’t fit into those is going to get sidelined! Majority of low-paid people are down islanders who have no vote. Majority of employers of low-paid workers are BVIslanders who do vote. Why would a politician risk losing votes?

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  3. Chosen says:

    Not everyone is the same you probably don’t even have a proper education so stop looking down on people

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    • ... says:

      It’s not a matter of looking down, but we can’t become / remain complacent. Even if it isn’t ‘formal education’, continuous growth need to be happening in terms of skill set.

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  4. LOL says:

    Raise the minimum wage and lower cost of goods. WTF! How?

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  5. Chosen says:

    Some of us bvi islanders believe only we are humans and others are trash but don’t worry God is up high looking down

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    • Love no hate! says:

      Now someone have eyes and heart..thank you..that’s exactly how they treating expats!! And half of the nasty work expats do for them they dont appreciate them..God dont sleep!

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  6. Looking into it says:

    Bear in mind if you raise minimum wage especially if the price regulations are not in place, then prices will generally go up as the cost of wages increases. There are some employers who will have to close their businesses as they would not be able to afford to pay wages if it is raised and hence there will be less employment opportunities. The cost of “side work” (not taxed by Government) where many people really make their money may go up as well. We have to be careful balancing the equation. Hopefully some persons versed in economics can provide input here.

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  7. New poverty says:

    Minimum wages was $1.50 in 1988 now in 2020 minimum wage is $6.00 hr do the maths .Look at the price of a one bedroom now don’t talk about food and rent competing with each other. A significant portion of the population living form paycheck to pay check that is why when disaster strike you see so many people in Dire need because that is when you realize the true face of poverty in the BVI. If people get a reasonable wage the the government and the FSN wouldn’t be so overwhelm. More people would be able to take care of themselves.

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  8. Really? says:

    2016 – from $4 to $6 (50%)
    2020 – from $6 to $8 (33.33%) – proposed

    Really?? This will cause a huge inflation (even higher tat the one we already have!)

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  9. Diaspora says:

    Indeed, employees should be paid a living wage so that they can comfortably take care of themselves and their families. What is a living wage? There is no set minimum living wage rate. A living wage is a function of the affordability of the proverbial basket of goods. Cost of living has been skyrocketing and so has the cost of a proverbial basket of goods. The minimum wage is currently $6 per hour but I will take (WAG) that few, if any, caring and compassionate employers o PO PO pay the minimum wage.

    Nonetheless, the are pros and cons of raising the minimum wage. The cons include economic growth, improved employee morale, increase consumer spending……etc. On the other hand, cons can include potential employer layoffs, reduced work hours, increase in prices…..etc. Minimum wage come down to supply and demand. The law of supply and demand states that when supply exceeds demand, prices fall and when demand exceeds supply, prices increase. In the employment world, labour is considered supply and low wage labour may exceed supply. Sometime minimum wage increases my hurt the very that they intended to help. Balance between pros and cons of minimum wage increase is needed.

  10. @looking says:

    …..AND, if you raise minimum wage AND implement measures that interfere with businesses pricing for profit then you will have higher unemployment, it’s not as simple as these people make it out to be.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Because there are no laws governing fair labour cost and protection of the labour force from exploitation, people are paid little to nothing and work long hours. This is totally a violation of Human Rights. And, it needs to stop.

  12. If says:

    the government isn’t doing its job protecting its citizens, then they themselves have to make a stand as, they have the right to vote the government out in favor of one that will look out for, improve upon and protect their needs and human rights.

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  13. Hmm says:

    Tricky subject, not only people struggling, businesses are to. Raising the minimum wage may result in some businesses hiring less staff which is worst. As businesses simple look at their bottom line at the end of the day. Individuals you are now complaining about not having enough money may not have any income and will be seeking government assistance as a result. Just because minimum wage increases doesn’t mean that it will be good for all and it will drive the economy. Some people will be out of a job. Not everyone understands the business/ economic aspects that drive these types of things. Very tricky subject, all aspects must be reviewed before hand.

  14. So sad says:

    Minimum wages should match with inflation but I guest that a no no for BVI

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  15. take a tip says:

    Restaurant servers and bar tenders minimum base should not be the same as other industries. They make a good part of their compensation from tips. It’s hard enough to make a profit in the food service business with the high food costs, high electric, high insurance, high gas, SS, NHI, taxes, commercial rents, and overall overhead costs which are a lot higher than most industries. This has never been considered in the BVI as it has in most other countries. In most countries employees that earn tips do not make minimum wage. They earn less per hour. A tip earned is for good service. Pay them more per hour and they have no reason to work hard to receive a good tip. Maybe part of the service problem in the BVI. On another note…they are not being taxed on tips earned. So they earn minimum wage for hours worked, plus they earn 15-20 percent of the customers spending without taking out taxes or paying into the system on the larger percentage of their wages. NO to raising the minimum wage for employees who earn more than half of their salary from tips. It may be why some of the restaurant owners keep part of the tips and include it in the bill. This I do not agree with. However, it may be the only way for them to afford to stay in business. I’m not a restaurant owner, I am an accountant that can see the struggles of operating a restaurant verses othe businesses. The government should take it in consideration. Most other countries do not pay those who make tips minimum wage and servers are taxed on total earnings including tips. Google it!

  16. Boo says:

    raise minimum wage. In the morning price of everything goes up

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  17. Why not says:

    Prices of everything going up without Minimum wages raised.
    The price of a one bedroom apartment $1500 .$350 a week for groceries for a family of three. So anyone making less than$10,000 per month doom. So imagine a single parent making $900 per month.So $6 an is no better than working for free.

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  18. interestingly says:

    Why to expats get paid more than BVIslanders doing the same job? Why does the Labour Dept. allow this practice?
    Some businesses pay minimum and make huge profits and they could easily pay more and make the lives of their employees so much better but they don’t care because they are coldhearted non God fearing greedy business people.

    Too often the disparity between the BVIslanders wages and the expats is shocking and most often the locals have to work much longer hours. BVI’s Labour Dept has failed the citizens of the British Virgin Islands. Why?

    Like 3
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  19. Tola says:

    let’s raise it to $10.00 even $10.00 that’s $80.00 per day which equals to 400.00 per week x 4 = $1600.00 per month. a two bedroom is $1500.00 …If I have a kid who needs his own bedroom…where is the money for food…whee is the money for light bill?. some people don’t think. Stop treating people like that …raise it!!

  20. sooooo says:

    Please don’t have children you can’t support. Practice birth control, or self control. Kids are expensive and deserve a home with a mom and dad living together in it. PS don’t abort a baby, have it, and put it up for adoption.. God will bless you for it..

  21. Trust Me says:

    If they do raise the minimum wage up to $8/ $10, you going see how fast employers cut their employees hours and the supermarkets them raise their prices on items again. Especially R**.

  22. wish u luck says:

    wishing you all luck when yo all unemployed instead when the employers cant afford to pay you any longer

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