The U.S. Wage and Hour Division’s Saipan Field Office has ordered the owner of a store on Saipan and another on Tinian to pay $70,197 in back wages to their 24 workers for minimum wage and hour violations.
According to Wage and Hour Division yesterday, their investigators also cited the employer, Long Feng Corp., for record-keeping violations for not accurately recording all hours worked by employees.
Long Feng Corp. operates New XO Market on Saipan and Tian Hong Market on Tinian. The stores offer groceries, laundry services, and poker machine amusement games.
Long Feng Corp. has agreed to pay all back wages found due and promised to initiate full compliance with federal labor law.
Wage and Hour Division district director in Hawaii Terence Trotter said that when a business is subject to the wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employer cannot lawfully enter into separate wage agreements with their workers that undermine their basic rights under the law.
In this case, Wage and Hour investigators found that Long Feng Corp. failed to meet its obligations under the federal FLSA to pay minimum wage and overtime.
Investigators found that the employer had the employees enter into agreements giving up their entitlement to overtime premium wages for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.
The FLSA requires most employees, with limited exceptions, be paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $6.05 per hour in the CNMI, for all hours worked, plus time and one half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week.
An employee’s regular rate, according to Wage and Hour Division, is determined by providing weekly compensation, including hourly rates, commissions, and incentive pay by the total hours worked in a workweek.
Employers are also required to provide a notice to employees of the FLSA minimum requirements by posting the FLSA poster, maintain accurate time and payroll records, and adhere to work hour limitations and specific occupation restrictions deemed hazardous for workers under the age of 18.