BAI and Cornell Review Haiti’s Minimum Wage Law

This letter, written by Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and Cornell University Law School, is an analysis of the 300 gourde per day standard for piece-rate workers in Haiti. In it, they establish that the Haitian legislature and courts that possess the authority to establish and interpret the country’s minimum wage law, not the industry and government representatives who have sought to nullify its pay requirements for piece-rate workers. The letter was written in response to the Worker Rights Consortium’s request for analysis by American and Haitian labor and human rights law experts.

Part of the letter is below. Click HERE for the full text.

October 20, 2014

Dear Mr. Hensler:

In response to your request, the Cornell Labor Law Clinic (Clinic) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) have undertaken a thorough review of the 2009 Haitian Minimum Wage statute as applied to garment workers in the export industry, including in-country research by the Clinic in Port-au-Prince in early May 2014. This letter will address our interpretation of the minimum wage statute and the 300 Haitian Gourdes per day standard that applies to piece rate garment workers who are engaged in production for export.

From interviews conducted by the Clinic in Haiti and a review of relevant materials, it is apparent the there is disagreement about how to apply the minimum wage statute, but this reflects political and financial interests, rather than confusion over the statutory language or the intent of the legislature. As we discuss below, however, the argument that the 300 Gourde rate is only aspirational rather than mandatory is at odds with the plain language of the statute and the historical context of its adoption.

 

Click HERE for the full letter.