Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) has authored a bill to require all employers to pay CNMI prevailing wages to all employees, as well as to mandate government contractors to pay prevailing wages for public work projects, among others.
Senate Bill 19-104 mandates that every employer pay prevailing wages according to the 2014 CNMI Prevailing Wage and Workforce Assessment study and any update to the study after October 2016.
It gives the Department of Labor secretary the power to establish prevailing wage schedules in the CNMI pursuant to the 2014 study or updates thereafter and that if a wage rate cannot be applied in existing positions, to hold public hearings to determine the wage rate.
It tasks the Labor secretary to update the CNMI prevailing wage schedule at least once every year.
The bill also tasks the secretary to determine prevailing wage rates for employees contract by public works projects, among others.
“The CNMI governor has publicly declared his support to increase the CNMI minimum wage to $7.25 ahead of the schedule set by federal law. Currently, the CNMI minimum wage is $6.05 but is set to increase to $6.55 in September 2016. Increasing the CNMI minimum wage is consistent with imposing prevailing wages for all employers to pay their employees,” the bill states.
The bill also notes a June 16 joint resolution from the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, and the NMI Chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management where they urged the CNMI government to “by statutory or regulatory change require all businesses to follow the established prevailing wages for all positions, including for all CW-1 and H-category visas.”
The bill also details fines for violations of the bill’s provisions at no less than $100 and not more than $500.