Months after imposing a 72-hour work week for the CNMI government as part of austerity measures, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres announced yesterday that he is officially restoring the 80-hour pay period after two weeks.
The 72-hour work schedule, which started on June 23, 2019, under Directive 2019-004, is now rescinded, with the issuance of Directive 2020-001, which restores the 80-hour work schedule starting Nov. 24, 2019, or pay period 26.
In his directive yesterday, Torres said that implementing the 72-hour work schedule “was a difficult decision to make [but] it was necessary in order to protect our government employees from other more drastic options that would have had more severe impacts. It was further necessary to ensure that our government obligations and services remained stable.”
The 72-hour work schedule had been in effect for about five months. Torres explained that, because of the austerity measure, the CNMI government was able to bounce back from cash flow woes in the wake of Super Typhoon Yutu, which hit Tinian and Saipan late October 2018.
“…The secretary of Finance and the special assistant for Management and Budget have informed me that government finances and current cash flow will be sufficient for the restoration of regular 80-hour work schedules for government employees,” Torres said.
The last austerity Friday will be observed on Nov. 22, 2019.
“Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and I appreciate all our government employees for their patience and understanding during the period of austerity and for their continued commitment to serve the people of the Marianas,” he said, clarifying that the 80-hour work schedule would be effective come Nov. 24, 2019.