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$12.50 minimum wage now in effect

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The new minimum wage in Trinidad and Tobago took effect on Saturday.

The Minimum Wages Order 2010 increased the wage from $9 per hour to $12.50 per hour.

The announcement of the increase was first made by Minister of Labour Errol McLeod during his national budget presentation last year.

The order, which revoked its 2005 predecessor, highlighted some of the categories of workers that will benefit from the new legislation.

"The national minimum wage and provisions relating to overtime in this Order shall be applicable to petrol filling station employees, catering industry employees, shop assistants, security industry employees and household assistants," the order read.

However, other terms and conditions that have been established in the respective pieces of legislation for these categories of workers will remain in effect.

There are also some categories of workers that will not benefit from the wage hike.

According to the order, the increase does not apply to:

"a. trainees in training schools approved by appropriate Government agencies such at the (i) Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP); or (ii) National Energy Skills Centre;

"b. schemes developed from time to time by other Government ministries, departments or agencies;

"c. other schemes submitted to and approved by the Minister to whom responsibility for labour is assigned;

"d. registered apprentices;

"e. students on vacation jobs;

"And f. persons who volunteer services to registered charitable organisations and social services agencies registered with the Ministries responsible for social services, you, sports, community development or gender affairs."

The legislation was careful to mention that its proclamation was not meant to reduce the wages of employees who were already earning in excess of $12.50 an hour.

"This order shall not be construed as authorising a. the reduction of wages paid to those employees who already receive wages in excess of the national minimum wage; and b. changes in the existing terms and conditions of any worker to effect a lowering of such terms and conditions." See Page 8

—Abby Brathwaite

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