The Ministry of Labour and Social Security continued to provide support to the most vulnerable in the society.
Social Security Division
- $8.4 billion was allocated in the 2018/19 budget for the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). The Programme continues to target 360,000 Jamaicans who are poor and in need of assistance.
2. A $5.9 million incentive programme, dubbed ‘School Days Count’, was launched. It aims to increase secondary school attendance by
PATH student beneficiaries.
3. The Stimulation Plus Early Childhood Development Centre in Rockfort, East Kingston, was upgraded through funding of $70 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
4. The Ministry introduced a Back-to-School grant of $3,500 per student on PATH. This was done as part of efforts to improve the social safety net programmes and to increase the level of support provided to poor families.
5. The Ministry, in collaboration with Winrock International and Lawyers without Borders, launched the Level Engagement and Assistance to Reduce Child Labour (CLEAR II) Project in Jamaica.
6. National Insurance Scheme (NIS) old-age benefits increased by 20 per cent. The payment moved from $2,800 to $3,400 per week, effective April 1.
7. Also, effective August 1, the funeral grant payable under the NIS increased to $90,000.
8. Effective August 2018, the National Minimum Wage was increased from $6,200 to $7,000 per 40-hour week.
9. The National Minimum Wage for security guards was increased from $8,854 to $9,700 per 40-hour work week effective August.
- Between January and November 2018, the Ministry facilitated overseas employment opportunities for the following categories:
• United States (US) Farm Work Programme – 5,085 workers, US Hospitality Programme – 1,724 workers, Canadian Farm Work Programme – 9,255 workers, and Canadian Low Skill Programme – 616 workers.
2. Up to November 2018, the Electronic Labour Exchange (ELE) placed 1,141 workers in jobs locally.
3. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the St. Ann Chamber of Commerce and Runaway Bay Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) to increase awareness of and access to the Labour Market Information System (LMIS) by employers and jobseekers.
4. The Ministry embarked on a series of two-day road-shows to raise public awareness about the Labour Department’s services.