The Dominican Republic granted tourism workers the biggest minimum wage raise in the country’s history, with the government arguing that the pay increase will help workers cope with growing inflation.
The wage increase will take place gradually, increasing salaries between 20% and 49%, depending of the size of each company, the Dominican government explained in a press release. The wage increases will apply only to workers in hotels, restaurants and other “gastronomic establishments”.
Wages will increase by 15% for workers in large companies, reaching the 16,800 pesos (US$308) mark for every month. Monthly salaries in mid-sized companies will increase by 33%, while smaller ones will see a 49% jump in montly wages, with both reaching the 14,161 pesos (US$260) mark.
These salary increases are expected to be reached by February 2024.
Raising wages seems to have been at the top of the political agenda of President Luis Abinader. At the beginning of March this year, he raised the minimum wage by 19% for all private sector workers, except in the tourism industry and for those laboring in industrial free zones.
El aumento será dividido en dos etapas, un 15 % será efectivo a partir de abril y un 4 % en febrero de 2024. Seguiremos dando pasos para lograr que los dominicanos y dominicanas cuenten con un salario justo y digno. pic.twitter.com/broyBAqRdH
— Luis Abinader (@luisabinader) March 9, 2023
Abinader’s government has carried out 22 wage adjustments in the past two years. The Minister of Labor, Luis Miguel De Camps, has been holding marathon meetings with employers and trade unions.
Dominican unions had asked for an average wage increase of 35%. Employers refused, saying that such a steep increase would be incompatible with inflation, which is currently running above 7%.
As of June of last year, there were 173,275 workers and 6,000 employers in the Domincan tourism industry, according to the country’s central bank.
The average monthly minimum wage in the Dominican Republic is $318.