Executive Council met today to consider a recommendation to increase the Minimum Wage by 8 pence from Pound 3.05 to Pound 3.13 per hour for workers aged over 18, and from Pound 2.10 to Pound 2.18 per hour for workers aged 16-17 with effect from 1 April 2019.
The recommendation was made on receipt of a report by the Employment Rights Committee appointed by the Governor in Council in accordance with Section 7(2) of the Employment Rights Ordinance 2010.
In their deliberations, members considered the impact on employers and consumers noting that a balance needed to be struck between protecting incomes and avoiding negative effects on local businesses. It was also noted that previous updates to the Minimum Wage have delivered real increases in median wages for the lowest 25% of earners. A 'real increase' means an increase over and above inflation. The August 2017 Minimum Wage increase of 35p was a greater than inflation increase and the July 2018 increase was an inflationary increase.
Members also noted that the increase meant that the gap between the average wage and the minimum wage on Island would decrease further and asked that work should take place in 2019 to review the Labour Market Strategy and within this to work to carry out an evaluation which considers the impact of increasing the minimum wage over time.
Members were content to approve the increases and to recommend to the Governor that the changes to the Employment Rights Regulations should come into force on 1 April 2019.
Under any other business the Governor informed Members of a forthcoming exhibition entitled Napoleon and the South African Wine the Emperor used on St Helena to take place at Groot Constantia in Capetown in February 2019, which she will be attending. The Governor sought approval from Members to loan to the exhibition the wine cooler which was part of Longwood New House furniture now displayed in the dining room at Plantation House and to permit the St. Helena Napoleonic Heritage Ltd to export for the time of the exhibition a few items presently at Longwood House. Members were happy to approve provided the necessary documents were in place to ensure safe shipment to and from the Island.
Source: St Helena Government