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GOB Establishes Task Force Aimed at Increasing Minimum Wage

The Briceno Administration has established a task force that will be looking at the issue of minimum wage. The move to look at the minimum wage in Belize with an aim to increase it, forms a part of the PUP’s manifesto promise. The directive for the task force was handed down back in November 2021 when Cabinet had tasked the Ministry of Labour to devise a plan that would see the gradual implementation of a five-dollar minimum wage. As is, the current minimum wage is three dollars and thirty cents per hour. The last increase in the minimum wage occurred back in 2012 when the then administration had implemented an increase over a five-year period. The government, in its release on the matter, highlighted the point that the phased increase has to be linked to Belize’s competitiveness and productivity growth as it will have implications on multiple sectors. The government says there will be consultations on the issue prior to any final decision. The task force is made up of seven persons, namely Daniel Gutierrez of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Carlesha Francisco of the National Bank of Belize; Fayne Nicascio of the Ministry of Economic Development; Luke Martinez of the National Trade Union Congress; Candice Soutar of the Central Bank of Belize and Anne Marie Thompson of the Ministry of Labour. Cindy Thompson of the University of Belize has been dubbed chair of the task force.