‘Like it or lump it’, Bermuda’s MPs passed the Minimum Wage Bill in the House of Assembly on Friday (Dec 9), as the Bill heads for the Senate for a vote on the statutory minimum wage, set at $16.40 per hour.

The Employment (Minimum Wage Entitlement) Bill 2022 also outlines procedures to determine if workers who are entitled to the minimum wage are receiving it, with regulations for employers to follow to show that they are complying with their obligations.

The Bill also gives enforcement officers the power to investigate business records to ensure compliance.

Any employer found to be in default of this new law will face financial penalties.

Speaking in the Lower House on Friday (Dec 9), Minister of Economy and Labour, Jason Hayward said the legislation would have “a positive impact” on Bermuda’s employees and give employers “necessary protections”.

Deputy Speaker of the House, Derrick Burgess, welcomed the Bill saying it was “long overdue”.

But he warned that the minimum wage set at $16.40 per hour would be out of date before it actually becomes law next June.

“It could solve the problem for a couple of weeks or months, but the way the cost of living is going today, that will be wiped out shortly,” he said.

“The cost of living is something we have to tackle and we have to tackle it quickly.”

But while the advocates say the Bill marks a start, critics say a minimum wage will result in “maximum unemployment for those who fail to produce for their employer the cost of that wage”.

Robert Stewart was one of several bloggers who wrote on the daily newspaper’s blog: “The minimum wage arguments of politicians are always aimed at the financial innocents who naively believe that passing a law on wages means that that wage will be paid. It is also aimed at gaining votes from the same financial innocents.

“Alas this is another blow at Bermudians employed in low wage jobs.

“Failure to understand this financial fact of life means even more financial distress for those working in low paid jobs.

“Look for an increase in the numbers of those who are unemployed.”

Another blogger listed as Bermuda Guy wrote: “Wages $16.40 for 40 hours of work after pension, social security and union dues oh and don’t forget health insurance the worker is left with less than $400 – $20 should be the wage that is a more realistic start lets be real.”

Hyperbole? added: “Congratulations to Rolfe Commissiong (who was ousted by Burt chicanery – the latter leaked an inflammatory accusation to this paper which caused him to resign) who pioneered this legislation and lobbied for it continually through all forms of media and pressure.”

Another blogger listed as Tiredofignorance asked: “Where are the jobs for entry level workers?

“Bermudians need work as inflation funs higher and higher making it more difficult to survive.

“What pay increases are coming to combat the high cost of living?

A blogger listed as Wrathchild, replied: “There are no pay increases coming. But inflation will continue to grow.

“The PLP have destroyed Bermuda, and the longer they remain the government, the worse it will get…The current government doesn’t care about any of those who are suffering, and the suffering is a result of them. But hey, let’s just put blinders on and vote them back in.”