Benavente: Prevailing wage is federally mandated

‘DOL is ready assist with grievances’

Although the prevailing wage survey, and the compliance or noncompliance of the survey, falls under the jurisdiction of the CNMI Department of Commerce, the CNMI Department of labor is open to assisting CNMI workers who may have any grievances in relation to this survey.

In an interview with CNMI Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente, she expresses that the prevailing wage survey is a federally mandated survey that must be followed by all employers.

She said although DOL does not have any say in the enforcement of the prevailing wage survey, the department is open to helping workers, in any way they can, who believe they are not being paid according to the survey.

“This is a federally mandated survey which we must follow. We really don’t have a voice or a say, in the handling of the prevailing wage or its survey results. We do read the data and we read the reports and try to tie that in with our business community members who come to our department and ask for help in terms of how much to pay their employee. So that’s how we assist but as far as compiling the minimum wage, that is done strictly by the Department of Commerce,” she said.

Vicky Benavente

“We can assist a claimant who wants to profile a labor complaint for example. It’s filed here at the Department of Labor with our investigation team where we really come to terms with what is supposed to be done versus what is being done or allegedly not being done,” Benavente added.

For those who want to file their prevailing wage grievances with the Department of Labor, you can visit their office on Capitol Hill or contact the department at +1 670-664-3298.

According to an online definition, the prevailing wage survey is conducted by the Department of Commerce to determine a state’s prevailing wage rate.

The prevailing wage rate is the basic hourly rate paid on public works projects to a majority of workers engaged in a particular craft, classification or type of work within the locality and in the nearest labor market area (if a majority of such workers are paid at a single rate).

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at
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