The Ministry of Financial Services, Labour and Trade has announced the establishment of an ad hoc Advisory Committee to review the minimum wage.

The minimum wage in the Virgin Islands was last increased on 1 October 2016, from $4.00 per hour to $6.00 per hour. However, a 2022 review of Social Assistance in the BVI by the Social Policy Research Institute (SPRI Global) found that this was well below what is now needed. The researchers cautioned, however, that the speed by which the minimum wage can be adjusted must take into account economic constraints.

With this in mind, Deputy Premier and Minister for Financial Services, Labour and Trade, Hon. Lorna Smith has determined that the best way forward is to establish an Advisory Committee to undertake a review of what the most appropriate level of the minimum wage should be.

She said: “The Government is conscious of the many economic challenges the people of the BVI face. We must all put our shoulder to the wheel, government, employers and employees to ensure that individuals on low incomes do not bear a greater share of the burden than they should. The review will be comprehensive, transparent, and involve the expertise of a diverse range of stakeholders to ensure inclusive participation and perspective. Importantly it will also report by the end of March 2024”.

The Minister will appoint the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee in accordance with Part III of the Virgin Islands Labour Code, 2010. The Advisory Committee will comprise experts and representatives from a diverse range of sectors, including key economic sectors, employers, employees, Sister Island representatives, youth and our development partners.

The committee will have access to technical support from economists, statisticians, financial analysts, and other government officials. This expertise will help the committee understand and analyse complex data, develop and evaluate policy options, and make informed recommendations.

It will complete its review and submit its final report to the Minister for Financial Services, Labour and Trade within four (4) months of its inaugural meeting which is planned to take place on 21 November.

The Minister said: “The review of the Minimum Wage is only one part of a wider assessment by the Government of how we can address the cost of living challenge across the BVI. We know our people need to be better supported and I expect to make further announcements on this in the near future.”

The following persons will serve on the Committee: Mr. Colin O’Neal, Ms. Nelda Farrington, Ms. Amberly Crabbe, Mr. Michael Thomas, Mr. Sendrick Chinnery, Mr. Laurence Wheatley, Mr. Elton Leonard, Ms. Stephanie Faulkner, Ms. Diana Wheatley, Ms. Binta Jallow, Ms. Cleopatra Besson, Mr. Sean Palmer, Ms. Lynette Harrigan, MBE and Mr. Doug Riegels.