Responding to a question asked during a Chamber of Commerce
public meeting Wednesday, Cayman Islands Employment Minister Rolston Anglin
said he had no immediate plans to introduce a minimum wage into the Labour Law.
The query came at the end of a 90-minute ‘be informed’
session hosted by the Chamber on local pension and labour issues.
“Is there any plan to change the pension contribution
amount, the percentage and also to introduce a minimum wage in the Labour Law?”
asked Chamber President Jim O’Neill.
“No and no,” said Minister Anglin, who acknowledged that he
expected a motion in the upcoming Legislative Assembly meeting that would
propose the creation of a $5 per hour basic wage rate.
Mr. Anglin has previously said that he was not opposed to a
minimum wage, but that the issue is far more complex than simply setting an
“We are going to set up a group, not a minimum wage advisory
committee, but there’s a minimum wage group that is going to explore the issue
of minimum wage to come back and talk about what’s existing in the economy and
what work needs to be done,” he said, indicating that at the end of a few
months review a decision about whether to proceed would be made.
“It’s quite easy to have aspirations like a minimum wage,”
Mr. Anglin said. “I don’t think there are many people that disagree with the
principle of a minimum amount of money that every person should make. But it
has to take into consideration your economy, your current workforce and your
current economic climate.”
For instance, the hiring of domestic helpers poses quite a
problem if Cayman were to introduce a minimum wage, Mr. Anglin said.
“The single biggest employer group [in Cayman is]
individuals who employ domestic helpers,” the minister said. “So if someone’s
going to say to me ‘yes we should have a minimum wage but the first exemption
is going to be domestic helpers’…I don’t know if I can…go to the [United
Democratic Party] caucus and recommend that, much less go to the house.
“We need to figure out what we’re going to do with 6,000
domestics, the vast majority of whom are currently making less than five
dollars an hour.”
Also, the issue of whether employees that receive tips
should make a minimum wage would also need to be decided, Mr. Anglin said.