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Jamaica: Minimum wage nightmare – Families skimp on food as 24% of Jamaica’s poor severely hungry

A nutrient cost analysis has revealed that on average, Jamaican minimum wage earners spend close to half, or 48 per cent, of their weekly income of $7,000 on food.

If Jamaica were to come close to its Caribbean neighbours St Kitts and Nevis or Barbados, whose citizens spend 29 and 27 per cent, respectively, on meals, the minimum wage would have to be significantly increased.

A 59 per cent wage increase, which translates to $11,130, would allow for families to allocate 30 per cent of income to food.

The study Towards a Liveable Minimum Wage in Jamaica was conducted in June 2020 by the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

The minimum wage is generally determined by poverty, consumer price index, and a country’s wealth.

Unlike the traditional economics-based approaches, the study utilised a biological benchmark of consuming a balanced diet of 2,400 kilocalories per day.

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