The government of Seychelles will implement an increase in the national minimum wage, social security payments and retirement pensions at the beginning of 2020, President Danny Faure announced in his Labour Day address on Tuesday.
"Here in Seychelles, Labour Day is a day for celebration, but also reflection. In our reflection, let us ask ourselves how each one of us, through our work, is improving the lives of our family, contributing to our homes, helping our organisation move forward, and finally, adding to the development of our country in general," he said.
The head of state said that before the current workforce, there were other generations of workers that knew deplorable, difficult, and unjust working conditions. These workers made the foundation from which those of today can continue to build upon.
Faure said that these workers took their retirement many years ago, and today they live only on their social security pension.
"They do not get any other pension that exists today aside from social security. My administration has decided to give them additional support. They will get SCR 500 ($37) a month from January 2020. This sum will be budgeted in the 2020 budget and will be administered by the Agency for Social Protection," said the President.
Another category of workers are pensioners who have contributed to the Seychelles Pension Fund.
Faure said that because these pensioners are receiving less than SCR 1000 ($73), as of January their pensions will increase to SCR 1000 per month. From January there will also be an increase in retirement pension under social security from SCR 5250 to SCR 5750 ($386 to $423).
On the increase in salaries, Faure said that since 2008, when the government first introduced a national minimum wage, there has been a great effort to continue to support those earning the lowest salaries.
"Today, I would like to announce that from 1 January 2020, the national minimum wage will increase by SCR 500 a month. This means that the wage rate will go from SCR 34.97 per hour to SCR 38.27 per hour. This means, per month, for work based on 35 hours a week, the salary will increase from SCR 5303.70 ($390) to SCR 5804 ($426) a month in January 2020," he added.
Faure said that it is important for Seychelles as a country in competition with other countries around the world that "we focus on improving our attitude, discipline and productivity. It is important for us to understand that if we want our country to move ahead, we need to do our work with a greater sense of responsibility."
Along this line, he talked about the abuse of sick leave in the workplace which affects productivity and said that as from June, the annual sick leave will decrease from 30 days to 21 days. However, parents with sick leave for their children will get seven additional days.
"We are working hard to improve the welfare of our workers. One of these measures concerns assistance for daycare and childminding. The assistance that parents are eligible to receive from the government that is SCR 500 today will increase to SCR 750 from January 2020," the President said.
Another measure Faure announced was an increase in annual leave days.
"As you all know, all workers get 21 days as annual leave. My administration has decided that from January 2020, annual leave will be 24 days," he said.
Faure also said that this year Seychelles is joining the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations Agency, coinciding with the 100th year of its existence.
The President said that Labour Day which is celebrated globally on May 1st is a day for the celebration of the achievements that workers have made together.
The celebration of the successes that workers have shared together and a celebration of the determination of the Seychellois workforce for the progress of Seychelles in all aspects.
"Today, it is an occasion for me to once more, salute all workers. Thank you very much for your contributions that have brought Seychelles to where it is today," he said.