“Since coming to office, this Government partnered with its stakeholders to increase the national minimum wage from $9.00 to $12.50 per hour,” he said. “As we speak, recommendations for another increase are being considered.”
While the world has 75 million unemployed young people, a group which is in fact three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, the unemployment rate in Trinidad and Tobago is just 3.7 percent, he said.
For the unemployed the Government provides jobs, training and even entrepreneurship opportunities.
Mc Leod said work is now in progress to develop a migration labour policy.
Recapping the Government’s successful law-making on labour, Mc Leod said paid maternity leave was increased from 13 weeks to 14 weeks by amending the Maternity Protection Act to meet international standards. The Government has repealed the antiquated and colonial Masters and Servants Ordinance.
He listed the changes to the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) proposed by the Government-appointed Industrial Relations Advisory (IRA) Committee.
These include a widening of the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court, enactment of a new law called the Employment Rights/Standards Act to protect those workers who are not protected by the IRA, securing the tenure of industrial court judges; and reviewing the process of decertification of trade unions.
Mc Leod hailed calls for the IRA for TT to ratify the International Labour Organisation so as to recognise domestics (housekeepers /maids) as “workers” under the IRA. “Callers are knocking on an open door. The Government repeats its commitment to this!”
He said the requisite legal framework must be in place before this Convention can be properly implemented into domestic law.