An Act respecting minimum wages and terms and conditions of employment.
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
MINIMUM WAGES ACT
[18th June 1976]1. This Act may be cited as the Minimum Wages Act.
2. In this Act
Board means the Minimum Wages Board appointed by the Minister under section 4;
Chairman means the Chairman of the Board;
Court means the Industrial Court established under the Industrial Relations Act;
Deputy Chairman means the Deputy Chairman of the Board;
employer means a person who employs a worker;
employment includes any trade, business, profession, office, vocation or apprenticeship;
Minister means the Minister with responsibility for labour matters;
out means a person to whom articles or materials are given out to be made up, cleaned, washed, altered, ornamented, finished or repaired or adapted for sale, in his own home or on other premises not under the control or management of the person who gave out the articles or materials;
worker means a person in receipt of earnings from an employer in respect of employment and includes an out
3. (1) The Minister may by Order (hereinafter called a Minimum Wage Order) fix minimum wages and terms and conditions of service for any class of workers generally or for any class of workers in a particular industry or undertaking or where satisfied that it is necessary to do so, fix a national minimum wage applicable to workers generally.
3. (2) An Order under this section may
(a) specify hours of work and other terms and conditions of service in relation to any minimum wage;
(b) provide for different minimum wages for workers in different categories of undertakings engaged in the same employment;
(c) provide that a national minimum wage shall not apply to workers of a specified category or to workers in a specified area or shall apply to such workers only subject to specified conditions.
3. (3) An Order under this section shall be subject to negative resolution of Parliament.
4. For the purposes of this Act the Minister shall appoint a Board to be known as the Minimum Wages Board.
5. (1) The Board shall consist of seven members including
(a) one member nominated by the associations most representative of employers;
(b) one member nominated by the associations most representative of labour;
(c) one Government representative.
5. (2) One member of the Board shall be appointed Chairman by the Minister. The Deputy Chairman shall be selected by the Board at its first meeting.
6. The Board shall advise and make recommendations to the Minister on all matters relating to the fixing of minimum wages and terms and conditions of service.
7. (1) Subject to subsection (2) a member shall serve on the Board for the period specified in his instrument of appointment.
7. (2) A member, other than the Chairman, may at any time resign by giving notice thereof in writing to the Chairman who shall thereupon forward such notice to the Minister, and the Chairman may resign by giving notice thereof in writing to the Minister. Resignation shall be effective upon receipt of notice by the Minister.
8. (1) The Board shall meet at such times as may be necessary or expedient for the discharge of its functions under this Act.
8. (2) The Chairman, or in his absence the Deputy Chairman, and three other members shall constitute a quorum.
8. (3) In the case of an equality of votes the Chairman or Deputy Chairman, as the case may be, shall, in addition to his original vote, have a casting vote.
8. (4) Subject to this section, the Board may make rules for the regulation of its own proceedings and procedures.
9. Members of the Board shall be paid such remuneration and allowances as may be authorised by the Minister.
10. The Minister shall assign to the Board from the officers of his Ministry, a Secretary and such other staff as may be required for the Board to perform its functions efficiently.
11. Where, in the opinion of the Minister it is necessary to fix or vary a minimum wage or terms and conditions of service for any workers, either because
(a) there is no machinery for the effective regulation of the remuneration or terms and conditions of service for such workers; or
(b) the existing machinery is not adequate or is likely to cease to be adequate for that purpose,
he shall refer the matter to the Board for their recommendation and advice.
12. (1) Upon a referral by the Minister, the Board shall determine whether there exists any or any adequate machinery for the regulation of the remuneration or terms and conditions of service of the workers in respect of whom the referral was made or any of them.
12. (2) Where it is determined that regulatory machinery does exist, the Board shall examine the adequacy of that machinery and report thereon to the Minister. There shall be included in the report such recommendations as the Board may think fit for improving the efficiency of the machinery.
12. (3) Where, in the opinion of the Board, there are among the workers in respect of whom the referral was made, some whose case should be dealt with separately either on the ground that there exists regulatory machinery in respect of some of the workers and not others, or that the nature or hours of employment of some workers differs from that of others or for any other reason, the Board shall so advise the Minister.
13. Where, having considered a referral by the Minister, the Board is of the opinion that the Minister should fix a minimum wage or other terms and conditions of service in respect of the workers in respect of whom the referral was made or any of them, the Board shall so recommend and shall include in the recommendation
(a) a proposed minimum wage;
(b) terms relating to paid holiday and sick leave; and
(c) such other basic conditions, including danger money, dirt money, on-call or stand-by money, as the nature of the case may require.
14. In recommending a proposed minimum wage or other terms and conditions of service, the Board shall consider
(a) the general level of wages in Trinidad and Tobago;
(b) the cost of living;
(c) contributions payable and benefits provided under the system of national insurance established by the National Insurance Act; and
requirements of economic development, levels of productivity and the desirability of attaining and maintaining high levels of employment.
15. The Minister may accept the recommendation or advice of
the either fully or in part or he may reject it.
16. Where upon receipt of recommendation or advice of the Board the Minister proposes to make an Order fixing or varying a minimum wage or terms and conditions of service, he shall publish a notice to effect in the
Gazette and in at least one daily newspaper in circulation in Trinidad and Tobago. The notice shall contain a draft of the proposed Order and shall state the time, which shall not be less than
twenty-one days from the date of publication of the notice within which any written objection to the draft Order may be submitted.
17. (1) Any person objecting to the making of an Order shall forward his objection to the Minister, stating
(a) the grounds of objection;
(b) the nature of his interest in the matter;
(c) such additions, modifications or amendments to the draft Order as he may think fit.
17. (2) The Minister shall forthwith refer all objections to the
18. The Board shall forward their comments on the objections to the Minister and may submit such additions, amendments or modifications to the draft Order as they may determine and the Minister may thereupon make a Minimum Wage Order in such terms as he thinks fit having regard to the comments on the objections as forwarded by the Board.
19. (1) Subject to subsection (2), every worker to whom a Minimum Wage Order applies shall, as from the making of the Order, be paid by his employer remuneration not less than the minimum wage prescribed in the Order (referred to below as the statutory minimum remuneration) and shall enjoy such other terms and conditions of service no less favourable than the terms and conditions of service prescribed in the Order, notwithstanding that the remuneration or terms and conditions of service of such worker may be provided for in a collective agreement or in a written contract.
19. (2) Every worker to whom a Minimum Wage Order applies and who receives remuneration more than the statutory minimum remuneration and enjoys other terms and conditions of service more favourable than the terms and conditions of service prescribed in the Order shall in no way be adversely affected by reason only of the making of the Order.
20. The employer of every worker to whom a Minimum Wage Order applies shall keep and maintain such records in respect of that worker as may be necessary to show whether or not the provisions of the Order are being complied with in respect of that worker and unless seized and taken away by an authorised officer under the provisions of section 22(1) such records shall be retained by the employer for a period of three years.
21. The Minister may authorise in writing any officer in his Ministry (referred to below as an authorised officer ) to require any employer or any person authorised by any employer, except a person engaged in a confidential, professional relationship with such employer
(a) to give him information with respect to remuneration paid to and terms and conditions of service enjoyed by workers, in respect of whom a Minimum Wage Order applies, in the service of that employer;
(b) to permit him to inspect any records or paysheets relating to such workers;
(c) to permit him to interview workers in respect of whom a Minimum Wages Order applies, with respect to the remuneration received and the terms and conditions of service enjoyed.
22. (1) An authorised officer may at all reasonable times enter any premises or place where any workers to whom a Minimum Wages Order applies are employed or in the case of out-workers where the articles or materials are given out, or where there are any books, records or other documents relating to such workers, and
(a) examine such books, records or other documents relating thereto;
(b) search, if necessary with the assistance of any other person, any building, receptacle or place for books, records, documents, papers or things which may afford evidence as to the violation of any provision of this Act;
(c) where, during the course of the examination it appears to the authorised officer that there has been a violation of this Act, seize and take away any of the books, records or other documents relating to workers and retain them until they are produced in any proceedings; but where such books, records or other documents are necessary for the continued operations of the business reasonable access thereto shall be allowed to the
(d) require the employer or any person in the service of that employer to give him all reasonable assistance with, and to answer all questions relating to, the examination;
(e) interview workers in respect of whom a Minimum Wages Order applies, with respect to the remuneration received and the terms and conditions of service enjoyed.
22. (2) Admission to premises shall not be demanded except on the warrant of a Court but if it is shown to the satisfaction of a Court on sworn information in writing
(a) that admission to any premises has been refused or that refusal is apprehended or that an application for admission would defeat the object of the entry; and
(b) that there is reasonable ground for entry into the premises for any purpose as is mentioned in subsection (1),
the Court may, by warrant under his hand, authorise entry on the premises, except that such a warrant shall not be issued unless the Court is satisfied either that written notice of the intention to apply for a warrant has been given to the occupier, or that giving of such notice would defeat the object of the entry.
22. (3) An authorised officer entering any premises by virtue of this section may take with him such other persons as may be necessary to effect the purpose of his entry.
22. (4) Every warrant issued under this section shall continue in force until the purpose for which the entry is required has been
22. (5) Every person who hinders or molests or interferes with any person doing anything that he is authorised by subsection (1) to do or prevents or attempts to prevent any person from doing any such thing and any person who, unless he is unable to do so, fails or refuses to do anything he is required by or pursuant to this section to do, is liable on determination by the Industrial Court to a fine of ten thousand dollars.
22A. (1) Where an authorised officer has carried out an inspection of any premises or place under section 22 he shall submit a report to the Minister within fourteen days of carrying out
22A. (2) On examining the report submitted to him the Minister shall, where a breach of the provisions of the Act is identified, deem the report to be made pursuant to section 51 of the Industrial Relations Act, and the report shall be treated with in accordance with the provisions of Part V of the Industrial Relations Act.
22B. (1) Where
(a) a worker alleges non-compliance with the provisions of this Act;
(b) a workers employment is terminated on the ground of his refusal to accept terms and conditions less than provided for under a Minimum Wages Order;
(c) there is a difference of opinion as to the reasonableness of any action taken or not taken by an employer as to the suspension or dismissal of a worker consequent upon the making of a Minimum Wages Order,
the worker, the recognised majority trade union or, where there is no such union, any union of which the worker is a member, may complain to the employer, in writing, in respect of any matter identified in paragraph
(a), (b) or (c)
seeking to have it rectified.
22B. (2) Where the employer fails to rectify the matter within fourteen days of the said complaint, the worker, the recognised majority union or, where there is no such union, the union of which the worker is a member, may make a report to the Minister in
22B. (3) Upon such matter being reported to the Minister and where a breach of the provisions of the Act is identified, the Minister shall deem the report to be made pursuant to section 51 of the Industrial Relations Act and the report shall be treated with in accordance with the provisions of Part V of the Industrial Relations Act.
22C. (1) No employer shall dismiss, suspend or otherwise adversely affect the employment of a worker or alter his position to his detriment by reason only that a complaint alleging non-compliance with any minimum wages order is made by that worker against the employer.
22C. (2) An employer who contravenes subsection (1) is liable on determination by the Industrial Court to a fine of twenty thousand dollars.
22D. (1) Matters under this Act which fall to be heard and determined by the Industrial Court shall be heard within six weeks of being referred to the Court and once hearing has commenced, be heard from day to day, as far as possible, until hearing is completed.
22D. (2) Judgment in a matter referred to in this Act shall be delivered not later than six weeks from the date of completion of the hearing save that in exceptional circumstances judgment shall be delivered not later than two weeks after the end of the six-week period referred to and reasons for the delay shall be indicated in the judgment.
22D. (3) Where the Court fails to deliver its judgment within the two-week period referred to in subsection (2), it shall state in open Court the reasons for the delay and if such delay continues the Court shall, at further one-week intervals, state the reasons for the continued delay until judgment is delivered.
23. Any person who in furnishing any particulars for the purposes of this Act makes any statement which he knows to be misleading false or deceptive, or by any dishonest concealment of material facts or by the reckless making of any statement, dishonestly or otherwise, misleads or attempts to mislead any other person, is liable on determination by the Industrial Court to a fine of ten thousand dollars.
24. (1) Every employer who pays a worker less than the statutory minimum remuneration or whose terms and conditions of service are less favourable than the terms and conditions of service prescribed in a Minimum Wages Order applying to such worker or who contravenes the provisions of section 19 or 20 is liable on determination by the Industrial Court to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars.
24. (2) Where an offence under this section is committed by a body corporate and is proved to have been attributable to the fault of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the body corporate, he as well as the body corporate shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
25. (1) In any case where an employer has been found by the Industrial Court to be guilty of paying less than the statutory minimum remuneration to any worker, the employer shall be liable to pay to the worker a sum equal in amount to the difference between the amount actually paid as remuneration and the statutory minimum remuneration in addition to compound interest, at a rate to be determined by the Court.
25. (2) The Industrial Court may, in addition to arrears of remuneration awarded under section 25(1), award such damages as
it thinks fit.
26. (1) An employer against whom a complaint is made or who is found to be liable under section 24(1) shall not dismiss, suspend or otherwise adversely affect a worker by reason only of the fact that
(a) his complaint or liability was founded on non-compliance with a Minimum Wage Order or a contravention of section 20 in respect of that worker; or
(b) the worker gave information to any authorised officer or permitted any authorised officer to inspect or seize and take away any books, records or documents of the employer or in any other way assisted any person doing anything that he was authorised by section 22(1) to do.
26. (2) An employer who contravenes any of the provisions of subsection (1) is liable on determination by the Industrial Court to a fine of thirty thousand dollars.
26. (3) The Court shall, in the determination of a matter referred to in this Act, exercise its power and jurisdiction under sections 10 and 11 of the Industrial Relations Act.
26A. The Minister may, by Order, subject to negative resolution of Parliament, increase the fines contained in this Act.
27. The Minister may make Regulations generally for the purpose of giving effect to this Act.
28. Where at the commencement of this Act, there is in force any wages regulation Order made under the Wages Councils Ordinance (repealed by this Act) in respect of any workers, such Order shall continue in force until a Minimum Wages Order made by the Minister comes into effect in respect of those workers and any person who contravenes such Order shall be proceeded against as if he had contravened a Minimum Wages Order.
29. This Act binds the State.