Lewis announces 1% COLA, 1% vacation allowance in 2024 budget amendment

July 11, 2024 1:29 pm

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Lyndon Lewis on Thursday announced that the outstanding amount for the 1% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and the 1% vacation allowance will be included in the 2024 budget amendment.

A meeting was held with the board of the WITU on Wednesday to express the government’s commitment to include the 1%. “We often times wish that things could be done in an instant, but what’s important for me and this government is that you do what you actually say you are going to do, especially when you are dealing with what is owed to your citizens,” Minister Lewis said.
The Minister explained that the former Council of Ministers, in its decision of December 28, 2023, right before the January 2024 elections, determined that the 1% COLA previously paid to civil servants would also be extended to the subsidized school boards. 

“However, Minister Lewis stressed, this funding was not reserved in the 2023 budget by the former government. The former government made a promise and did not allocate funding for it. The COM requested that the school boards provide their calculations, which were presented to the Minister of Education in 2024. And so, the amount for the 1% COLA is currently being included in the 2024 budget amendment,” Lewis explained.

As for the 1% vacation allowance, the Minister explained that the school boards received their 6% vacation allowance, which is included in their monthly funding. However, the additional 1% vacation allowance was not included in their monthly funding. 

“The school boards should have been able to pay the 6% already received. The additional 1% is also included in the 2024 budget amendment, which must go to Parliament for approval and be signed into law before the school boards can be paid,” Lewis said.
“In the meeting with WITU, the union made its position clear to the Ministry. The board of the union wanted to know that there was a commitment from government to pay the 1% COLA and 1% vacation pay. 

“We have always been straight forward with the union and explained the process and how we will proceed. The previous government made a promise they didn’t keep. We are now ensuring that this is done. This is a step forward and I will continue to do what is expected of me,” Lewis concluded.
The 2024 budget amendment is projected to be handled in August.