The Division of Labour within the Ministry of National Security and Home affairs has issued a strong message to employers who are failing to comply with a key legislative provision designed to increase employees’ wages. 

The increase in the minimum wage took effect from September first 2021 in accordance with the Labour Standards Act, of the 2017 revised laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Minister for National Security and Home Affairs Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore has expressed disappointment over the issue.

“Let me at this point express my gratitude to the many employers who have ben conforming thus far with the adjustment to the minimum wage. And we know that there are a number of employers who have not actually conformed to the order and the Ministry and the Government take a very serious view of that. In the days and weeks coming in the Department of Labour, every step will be taken to ensure that the order is adhere to,” Hon. Blackmoore stated.

Acting Labour Commissioner, Kelvin Pacquette says the division of Labour has played a major role in ensuring that both employers and employees are apprised of the changes. But he says some employers in the Security and Cleaning Services have so far not complied with the new legislation.

“As a result the Division has written to several business places about this improper practice and we will be writing to the others in due course. Another concern is regarding the question of what rate is to be paid to other unskilled workers such as porters and shelf packers who are not listed in schedule. These workers will fall under the categories of other unskilled workers and should be paid at a rate of seven dollars and fifty cents an hour,” Mr. Pacquette stated.

Mr. Pacquette says the Division has also been receiving complaints that many establishments are refusing to acknowledge that Sunday is a Holiday and that employees according to law should be paid accordingly.

“Any worker who has consented to work on a holiday is entitle to double pay or time off equivalent to the number of hours that the individual would have earned. The same would apply for working after normal working hours on a regular working day which would be overtime pay at a rate of time and a half or time off equivalent to the number of hours that the individual would have earned,” Mr. Pacquette noted.   

Mr. Pacquette says the situation is very concerning for the Division of Labour and the Ministry of National Security and Home affairs. He warns there may be legal consequences. 

“While we applaud all the law abiding establishments who have and continue to honour their basic responsibilities as employers, I wish to also appeal and encourage other institutions that have not, to cooperate and adhere to the provisions of the laws. By not doing so, you are acting contrary to the laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica and we all are aware of the unfortunate situation this could pose for you legally,” Mr. Pacquette added.