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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 09-573-SAN

Date: 

May 22, 2009

Contact: 

Dolline Hatchett

Phone: 

202-693-4651

Minimum wage increases 50 cents per hour in American Samoa and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands


New minimum rates become effective this month

WASHINGTON -- The federal minimum wage will increase for employees in American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), effective May 25 and May 26 respectively. With the increase, the new minimum wage rates in American Samoa, which vary by industry, will range from $4.18 for garment manufacturing to $5.59 for certain types of shipping and transportation. Employees who work in the CNMI can expect to receive $4.55 per hour.

“With this next phased increase, workers in American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are on their way to receiving the same minimum wage as mainland workers,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring vulnerable minimum wage workers receive the full protection of the law.”

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), increasing the general federal minimum wage in three steps: from $5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007; to $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. A separate provision of the amendments brought about phased increases to the minimum wages in American Samoa and the CNMI. Under this provision, the minimum rates in these territories increase 50 cents an hour each May until they have reached the minimum wage generally applicable in the U.S. Increases occur each year in American Samoa on May 25 and in the CNMI, which is across the international dateline, on May 26.

Prior to the FLSA amendment, special industry committees that met biennially set the minimum wage rates in American Samoa.

In addition, before enactment of the FLSA amendment, the CNMI government, under the authority of a covenant between the people of the Northern Marianas and the U.S. Congress, set the CNMI minimum wage. The overtime, youth employment and recordkeeping provisions of the FLSA were already applicable to CNMI before the change, and they have continued to apply as before.

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which enforces the FLSA, has updated compliance assistance information on its Web site at www.wagehour.dol.gov. Every employer subject to the FLSA minimum wage provisions must post, and keep posted, a notice explaining the FLSA’s provisions in all of its establishments so that employees are readily able to read it.

Employers and employees seeking more compliance information on the new minimum wage rates in American Samoa and the CNMI may call the Wage and Hour Division’s Honolulu District Office at 808-541-1361. Fact sheets and further guidance are available on the division’s Web site.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.