The minimum wage law establishes no universal minimum wage but rather varies base wages depending on the category of workers, with the lowest minimum wage set at $4.00 east Caribbean dollars (XCD) ($1.48) per hour and the highest minimum wage at $5.50 XCD ($2.04) per hour. A 2009 study by the Central Statistical Office, the most recent data available, estimated the poverty income level at $6,230 XCD ($2,310) annually and found that 29 percent of the population lived below this threshold. The law provides that the labor commissioner may authorize the employment of a person with disabilities at a wage lower than the minimum rate to enable that person to be employed gainfully. The labor commissioner did not authorize subminimum wages during the year.
The standard legal workweek is 40 hours, worked in five or six days. The law provides for overtime pay for work above the standard workweek, and the employee must give prior agreement for overtime work. The law does not prohibit forced or compulsory overtime but mandates that overtime wages paid to employees be not less than 1.5 times standard wages. Some overtime violations were reported in the tourism sector. Work on holidays is paid double, and the law stipulates paid holidays.
The law mandates that occupational health and safety standards be consistent with international standards. The Employment Safety Act of 1982 was amended during the year in accordance with ILO safety and health standards. Workers have the right to remove themselves from unsafe work environments without jeopardizing their employment, and authorities effectively enforced this right.
Enforcement is the responsibility of the labor commissioner within the Ministry of Justice, Immigration, and National Security, including in sectors where workers were not commonly unionized such as the informal sector, but the commissioner lacked sufficient resources to do so effectively. Four inspectors from the Department of Labor in the ministry, as well as 12 safety officers in the Fire Department, conducted inspections. To ensure compliance with labor regulations, inspectors have the authority to prescribe specific compliance measures and impose fines. Noncompliance can result in prosecution of offenders. The penalties for violations were insufficient to ensure compliance. The Ministry of Health had 17 inspectors who also inspected labor violations and conducted health and safety surveys. Fines for noncompliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act were up to $10,000 XCD ($3,700), and $75 XCD ($28) per day for violations of wage or hours of work laws. Domestic service labor is not covered by labor law.
The informal sector was significant, although statistics were unavailable. No social protection is provided to persons in the informal sector beyond social security benefits for maternity leave, sickness, disability, or death. Most of the informal sector worked in agriculture.
Quarry workers faced hazardous conditions. Some reports claimed that workers entered mines before adequate time elapsed after blasting, exposing them to hazardous chemicals. Other reports claimed that workers refused to wear their protective gear due to discomfort.
There were no reported workplace fatalities and accidents.