The $6-per-hour minimum wage is “likely” to increase after the findings of a committee reviewing the matter are presented to government by the end of the month, according to Deputy Premier Lorna Smith.

Ms. Smith, however, cautioned that the way forward won’t be finalised until the Cabinet considers the review and makes a decision. In the meantime, she urged residents to take part in online consultations on the move.

“It is important that everybody participates so that we know what is the optimum wage; what works best for everybody,” Ms. Smith said during a press conference on April 11. “Is there going to be an increase? I don’t know. It will depend on the information that we receive.”

Ms. Smith, who is the minister of financial services, labour and trade, added that government would avoid imposing a wage that is “unacceptable” or that “will not work.”

The next day, she issued a statement in a bid to clarify her remarks.

“Yesterday at the press conference, I was asked about the potential increase in the minimum wage,” she said in the statement. “In my response, I stated that I didn’t know and reiterated that the review is ongoing, which aligns with my commitment to a thorough and inclusive decision-making process.”

She added that while an increase is “likely,” a premature announcement on the matter could “undermine stakeholder consultation, data integrity, and policy confidence.”

‘Living wage’

Asked during the press conference if a “living-wage aspect” is being considered as well, Ms. Smith responded, “Yes, absolutely.”

She added, “We have to understand that there is a difference between the minimum wage and the living wage, and sometimes we confuse the two,” she said. “And we have to find somewhere in the middle that we could make sure that people in the territory can afford to live.”

Ms. Smith also acknowledged that some workers are facing financial hardships.

“I am very much aware that many persons are struggling and are desirous of an increase in wages,” she said. “I also believe in a process that is participative and supported by evidence-based findings in making decisions.

“So, in an effort to offer the opportunity for all stakeholders to contribute to informing this important process, I am relying on the advisory committee’s work, which includes widespread consultation.”


The committee was appointed last November to consider raising the minimum wage for the first time since October 2016, when it increased from from $4 to $6 per hour.

The committee’s appointment came after a 2022 review of social assistance in the territory by the Belgium-based Social Policy Research Institute, which concluded that the $6 wage is “well below” what is needed, Ms. Smith said previously.

The 16-person committee, which includes representatives from various sectors, was appointed by Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley with the aim of producing recommendations within six months.

Before the 2016 increase, the minimum wage had remained at $4 an hour since 1999.