Vice speaker looks at lower end of frozen wages during austerity measure


House vice speaker Janet Maratita (R-Saipan) is looking into the case of government employees affected by frozen wages during the austerity measures implemented in the early 2000s.

According to an Aug. 30, 2017, letter to Office of Personnel Management director Isidro K. Seman, Maratita is requesting the director to provide a list of all active and inactive employees who are owed a Within-Grade Increase or WGI.

“I am currently gathering information to ensure that these affected individuals will be treated equally as those that have been given retroactive lump-sum payments to the active and inactive employees whose wages were frozen at Step 12,” reads part of Maratita’s letter.

In an interview with the vice speaker on Tuesday, she told Saipan Tribune that her bill, which was introduced as an unnumbered bill during the House session last Aug. 30, seeks to address the concerns of employees who had their wages stuck during the austerity period.

Now numbered as House Bill 20-120, the bill seeks to retroactively pay employees whose wages were stuck at a certain pay level but got promoted during the austerity period.

“Commonwealth government employees who did not receive salary increases due to financial austerity measures are hereby entitled to the salary increases retroactive to the time that the employee would have been entitled to the salary increase in the absence of the financial austerity measures,” the bill states.

Like H.B. 20-108, the bill that addressed the retroactive payment of government employee wages stuck at Step 12, the OPM would determine the amount of the suspended salary increase each employee is owed.

No particular action has been done on the bill. Maratita is currently waiting for OPM to provide the list of affected employees before any action could be considered.

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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