Two U.S. Territories See 2018 Minimum Wage Increase

U.S. Territories 2018 Minimum Wage IncreaseEffective September 30, 2018, the minimum wage increased in American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The wage hike brings these territories’ wage rates one step closer to the rest of the United States.

The islands of American Samoa and CNMI are U.S. territories covered by the provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These territories have special rates which are lower than the general minimum wage for U.S. states. Employers who operate within these territories must update mandatory workplace posters to ensure that employees are informed of the current minimum wage rate for their region.

FLSA and the Federal Minimum Wage

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA)  requires employers to pay covered employees a minimum hourly wage for work performed in the U.S. Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has been set at  $7.25 per hour for most employees. Employers of tipped employees may pay a direct cash wage of $2.13, so long as the employee receives sufficient tips to make up the rest of the general minimum wage.

Prior to 2007, the U.S. territories of American Samoa and CNMI were exempt from the federal minimum wage.  Instead, a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) committee established special rates applicable to work performed within the territories. The passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 established federal minimum wage rates for American Samoa and CNMI, with the intention of bringing wages for workers in the territories closer to that of workers in the States.

Although the initial rates were set significantly below the general federal minimum wage rate, the rates for American Samoa are scheduled to increase every three years, and the rate for the Northern Mariana Islands every year, until they reach the general federal minimum wage rate.

2018 American Samoa Minimum Wage Poster

American Samoa Federal Minimum Wage PosterThe U.S. Department of Labor has updated the Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act – Federal Minimum Wage in American Samoa Poster.

The 2018 American Samoa Minimum Wage Poster provides the current and previous minimum wage rates, as well as information on overtime pay, child labor, the tip credit, nursing mothers’ rights, enforcement, and miscellaneous. The poster also provides a brief description of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 and its application to American Samoa.

The federal minimum wage in American Samoa varies according to industry. Effective September 30, 2018, the minimum wage rates for American Samoa are as follows:

Fish Canning & Processing & Can Manufacturing $5.56 Ship Maintenance $5.81
Shipping & Transportation – Classification A (Stevedoring, Lighterage, & Maritime Shipping Agency Activities) $6.39 Bottling, Brewing, & Dairy Products $5.49
Shipping & Transportation – Classification B (Unloading of Fish) $6.22 Printing $5.80
Shipping & Transportation – Classification C (All Other Activities) $6.18 Finance & Insurance $6.29
Tour & Travel Services $5.78 Private Hospitals & Educational Institutions $5.63
Petroleum Marketing $6.15 Government Employees Industry $5.21
Construction $5.90 Miscellaneous Activities (Includes Domestic Work) $5.00
Hotel $5.30 Garment Manufacturing $4.98
Retailing, Wholesaling, & Warehousing $5.40 Publishing $5.93

Employers should ensure that the 2018 American Samoa Minimum Wage Poster is posted in conspicuous places in every establishment where covered employees are employed so as to permit them to observe readily a copy (29 C.F.R. §516.4).

The American Samoa minimum wage rates are scheduled to increase again in 2021.

2018 Northern Mariana Islands Minimum Wage Poster

Northern Mariana Islands Minimum Wage PosterThe U.S. DOL has also updated the Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act – Federal Minimum Wage in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Poster.

The 2018 Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Minimum Wage Poster provides the current minimum wage rate for the region, as well as information on overtime pay, child labor, the tip credit, nursing mothers’ rights, enforcement, and miscellaneous. The poster also provides a brief description of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 and its application to the Northern Mariana Islands.

Effective September 30, 2018, the federal minimum wage for CNMI is set at $7.25. Employers should ensure that the 2018 Northern Mariana Islands Minimum Wage Poster is posted in conspicuous places in every establishment where covered employees are employed so as to permit them to observe readily a copy (29 C.F.R. §516.4).

The minimum wage for CNMI is now $7.25 per hour, equal to the general federal minimum wage rate. The rate will not change again unless there is an increase to the federal minimum wage.

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