Passing Amendments To The Housing And Social Development Levy Act Will Further Protect Minimum Wage Employees

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – Through the passage of significant amendments to the Housing and Social Development Levy Act on Thursday (February 22, 2024), the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has added yet another layer of protection to persons who earn minimum wage.

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew.

The Housing and Social Development Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2024, was moved in the National Assembly by the Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Social Security, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew. The amendments reflected one of the recommendations made by the National Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, headed by former Deputy Prime Minister, Ambassador His Excellency Sam Condor.

In essence, the amendments will ensure that persons who earn minimum wage are exempted from paying the Social Levy. A press release from the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board states that, “While the minimum wage was increased from $360.00 per week to $430.00 per week effective January 1st, 2024, the threshold for exemption from Housing and Social Development Levy is set at $450.00 per week. That is, only the Social Security deduction of 5% should be applied to employee wages between $0.01 to $450.00 per week.”

It must be noted however that the employer’s contribution on behalf of each employee is not affected by the changes. The employer’s portion of the Levy remains at three (3) percent and is payable in respect of all wages paid.

Prime Minister Drew said that his administration was mindful that while increasing the minimum wage, it simultaneously had to make sure that it adjusted the legislation to ensure that people take home more in their pockets.

“And so when you get that increase you don’t see all of your increase gone in the social levy. We want the people to be able to take this money home, Madam Speaker, to make a difference in their lives, to be able to pay a couple extra bills, buy some extra food and take better care of their children, if this would allow them to do such,” said Dr. Drew. “In other words, have this extra money to improve their living conditions.”

The Housing and Social Development Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2024, received tremendous support and contributions from Members of Parliament on both sides of the aisle.

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