‘Follow PWS closest to your renewal date’

DOL: PWS using older survey still accepted

The CNMI Department of Labor emphasized with Saipan Tribune yesterday that the latest Prevailing Wage Survey should be used for future CW-1 petitions.

In clarifying the ongoing PWS confusion, Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente noted that the PWS closest to your application date should be the survey used for achieving steps 1 to 3 in the CW-1 hiring process.

“…If [employers] used the first PWS and it is processed, that should be fine. U.S. Department of Labor said they were not going to deny that.,” Benavente said in an interview with Saipan Tribune. “Starting today, [employers] have to…use the [latest] PWS [but] if employers used the [first round of the] PWS, that is fine—[employers] do not have to reapply.”

When asked if there was a cutoff date for applications that started their CW-1 hiring process using the earlier versions of the PWS, Benavente replied there was none.

She further noted that USDOL advised her through conference calls that the PWS must be renewed every year—in our case, before late June 2020.

Benavente herself did not expect to see that the second PWS contained some of the occupations that were already in the first survey, adding that the CNMI DOL did not handle the data for the PWS.

Still, just “follow the [prevailing wage] survey closest to your renewal date,” she added.

Benavente gave the clarification after some employers told Saipan Tribune that CNMI DOL would not issue them some of the documents they need to file their CW-1 petition because of discrepancies noted between the two PWS versions.

She disputed that claim, though, noting that everything that happens requires her signature before it is official.

“The CNMI DOL does not withhold documents from employers who are wanting to hire employees. Our job is to help the employers find the right employees for their jobs,” she said. “…If there is a hiccup, it is not coming from the CNMI DOL.”

Benavente also reportedly verified the records from her department’s employment services division, refuting the claims.

For assistance on the CW-1 hiring process or for prevailing wage issues, Benavente urges employers to call DOL director of employment services Eugene Tebuteb at 664-3190 or 322-9934.

The U.S. Department of Labor was also asked for comments, but it has yet to respond as of press time.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.
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