Minimum Wage Increase Impacts Employment Dynamics
It’s been more than half a year since the country’s national minimum wage was increased. At the start of the year, five dollars became the lowest rate a worker should be paid for an hour of service. The move was welcomed by many Belizeans, but several in the business sector had rallied for a tiered approach. Since its implementation, there have been reports of employers laying off workers to save. We spoke to Business Senator, Kevin Herrera. He says that the Business Outsource Processing (BPO) sector, which pays high hourly wages, has changed the dynamics of employment.
Kevin Herrera, Senator, Business Community: “The BPO sector is putting a lot of pressure on the labor market. And so you’ve seen that the unemployment situation has gone down and what I’m seeing is it’s actually a little difficult to be finding workers though. I mean, where we were in terms of being able to find workers very easily five years ago is very different from what it is now. Now you really have to push hard to get applicants and you have to do all sorts of things, including raising wages to attract workers. And so what we’ve seen is certainly a tightening of the labor market. And I’m hoping that, you know, with the past school year that you’d have a whole host of new persons into the labor market. But we’ve certainly been seeing a strain, especially from the BPO sector with respect to finding labor.”