‘Employers, take part in PWS first before filing CW petitions’

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Posted on Apr 08 2019

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The Office of the Governor, together with the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Labor, encourages the Commonwealth’s businesses and employers to participate in the 2019 CNMI Prevailing Wage Survey before submitting CW-1 applications and petitions for renewals.

The 2019 CNMI Prevailing Wage Survey officially launches on Monday, April 8, 2019. 

The survey will be conducted through a collaboration the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Labor, CNMI Department of Labor, and the CNMI Central Statistics Division under the CNMI Department of Commerce. 

This comes after CNMI government and business leaders were recently informed by the U.S. Department of Labor that the latest prevailing wage survey for the CNMI expired on Jan. 1, 2019.

Under the Northern Mariana Islands US Workforce Act of 2018, the CNMI must have a prevailing wage survey each calendar year in order for USDOL to issue a Temporary Employment Certification.

“Having a true prevailing wage survey that is representative of the Commonwealth’s economy is a necessary factor in protecting both employers and its employees from economic hardships, where the cost to run a business and the price of goods will rise. Having reductions to the size of our labor force and hyperinflated prices will present real hardship for residents across the board, but we can prevent that by making sure businesses participate in the prevailing wage survey,” the Torres administration said. 

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios are encouraging the community to support the prevailing wage survey because it will protect the economy from hyperinflation and allow wages to grow naturally as it has been over the last four years. 

“Wages in the CNMI have increased over the last few years, because of a naturally growing economy that is driven by local entrepreneurship and the attraction of new industries and businesses that have employed more U.S. workers than ever before. Since 2014, average hourly wages have increased by 42 percent from $8.71 per hour to $12.38, and they will continue to rise. We just do not want to shock our economy by having Guam wages setting the benchmark. In order to continue our economic progress where everyone can have more opportunities for success, we need to come together as a community and support the prevailing wage survey by asking our businesses to hold off on CW applications until a prevailing wage for their sector is determined,” Torres said.

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce agrees with the Office of the Governor and believes that the CNMI Prevailing Wage Survey will ensure that wages are protected to ensure fairness and accuracy for employers and employees within the CNMI. 

“Over the last few years, businesses across our islands have raised their wages across the board because of an economy that has grown organically, in which employers find opportunities to expand services and local entrepreneurs are realizing their dreams. Business growth improves the lives of all who live here, and we need a prevailing wage that accurately represents our economy and our community. That is why we are asking businesses to hold off on their CW applications because an updated prevailing wage for their sectors and occupations is needed first,” Chamber president Velma Palacios said.

The 2019 CNMI Prevailing Wage Survey will ask for employee information to be received electronically. Employers are asked to complete the electronic form and provide employee information for each individual employee in their company. For those with more than one business, employers are asked to complete one survey for each business.

After completing the survey, employers are asked to submit the completed survey to cnmi.csd@commerce.gov.mp with the subject line “2019 CNMI PWS.” 

The first round of the 2019 CNMI Prevailing Wage Survey will end on April 22, 2019.

For more information regarding the 2019 CNMI Prevailing Wage Survey, and to download the survey form and detailed instructions, please visit www.cnmiprevailingwage.com. For additional questions, employers may call (670) 664-3006/7 for more information. (PR)

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