Online poll: Most think minimum wage should be more than $6

The majority of respondents to last week’s online poll think the Cayman Islands needs a minimum wage, but it should be more than the $6 per hour recently recommended by the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee. 

Of the 438 total respondents, 247 of them – 56.4 percent – thought the minimum wage should be more than $6 per hour. 

Suggestions for a more appropriate minimum wage included $8 per hour, $10 per hour and $12 per hour. 

“The minimum wage should be pegged at USA minimum wage, plus 20 percent,” suggested one person, who didn’t specify which currency. The U.S. federal minimum wage is currently US$7.25 per hour. There were many other comments by those who thought the minimum wage should be higher than $6 per hour. 

“Who can live on $6 per hour?” asked one person. “Maybe those who come here to work, but anyone from Cayman finds it hard to live on that kind of pay.” 

“$6.00 an hour seems very low, given the cost of living, but I’m sure prices will increase if it is implemented,” said another person. 

“There is no way that someone can live off of CI$6 an hour,” said someone else. “It is way too low and then we complain about 10 Filipinos living in a two- or three-bedroom house. How are they supposed to survive? They would not even make $50 if they worked an eight-hour day; less than CI$250 for a five-day week! Really? How do you pay rent and utilities with that amount without working 10-hour shifts for six days a week? 

“$6 per hour is disgracefully low,” commented one respondent. 

“Low wages breed high crime as we are now experiencing,” said another. 

“I feel $7.25 is more representative of the cost of living in Cayman,” said someone else. “If we could reduce the cost of living first, then $6 would be reasonable.” 

Another 93 people – 21.2 percent – agreed with the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee’s suggestion of $6 per hour. “It’s a great idea, but unless the minimum wage is enforced, there’s no point,” said one person. 

“I think people strongly against $6 per hour are actually employees at the lower pay levels who just want a salary increase as a result of the law,” said another respondent. “Any employers so against $6 would already be paying their employees above this rate and they would not need a law. “But the fact that so many people would be affected by a $6 minimum means that a minimum rate is needed and $6 may be a good place to start. But government needs to ensure it is not set too high as this will cause inflation. It is much easier to raise a minimum wage once it is law than it would ever be to decrease it.” 

Only 18 people – 4.1 percent – thought there should be a minimum wage less than $6 per hour. 

“I believe we do need a mandatory wage,” said one person. “Living in Cayman is costly, but six dollars might be a little too much to ask as a starting point.” 

“In line with the U.K., which would be about CI$5 per hour,” said someone else. 

Sixty-six people – 15.1 percent – thought the Cayman Islands should not have a minimum wage at all, with several people suggesting it wouldn’t be enforced if implemented. 

“Minimum wage will become a political football, increased and decreased at whim, like the civil servants’ pay increase – purely for votes,” said one person.  

“All this is going to do is give low-earning expats a raise because Caymanians aren’t going to do those kinds of jobs, even at $9 per hour,” said someone else. 

“Minium wage increases unemployment,” said another person. “Everyone knows this except the committee.” 

“There’s no need for a minimum wage; just stop giving out work permits for such low salaries,” said one respondent. 

“In a free country no business should be made to pay any set rate,” said someone else. A market will always find its level. No one is forcing anyone to work for less than they are willing to accept. If an employer cannot find a suitable person to accept the job offered, then he will have to offer more. That’s the way a free market works.” 

Fourteen people – 3.2 percent – responded “I’m not sure” to the question. 

“The whole tips/gratuity thing makes it a bit messy,” said one person. “There definitely should be some sort of protection for the people whose job involves cleaning etc, but some jobs are very much based on what is earned from tips.” 

“Frankly we have to consider this on many planes, not just emotionally or to do something good,” said someone else. “While without a major question I support a minimum wage, I feel the debate needs to be well grounded. I’ve recently heard the capitalist side of things and some strong points on the cost of living. Maybe an immigration change should have been the route as opposed to burdening the country with the affect of higher salaries and a higher cost of living.” “For those who earn tips, $5 is enough,” said another respondent. “Otherwise, it should be more like $7 per hour.” 

“We need Caymanian HR managers,” said one person. 

Next week’s poll question 

On average, how much cash do you carry on a normal day? 

  1. Less than $20 
  2. $20 to $50 
  3. $51 to $100 
  4. $101 to $200 
  5. More than $200 

To participate in this poll, visit starting May 4.