Minimum wage for ASG workers increases more than $2 an hour
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government minimum wage increases by more than $2 to $7.25 under the Lemanu Administration salary reclassification and hikes, which is effective today, July 1st, along with a hike in entry level pay for degree holders, says Human Resources director, Lynn Pulou-Alaimalo
She made the revelation during her presentation at a cabinet meeting last Friday at the ASCC Multi Purpose Center — and aired Tuesday evening this week on KVZK-TV — where Gov. Lemanu Peleti Pelepoi Sialega Mauga announced the funding source for the pay hikes comes from the Governor’s Special Programs budget category.
(The private news media, Samoa News and KHJ News, were not invited or informed about the cabinet meeting)
DHR in a May 19th “Notice of Intended Action” posted on the ASG website (www.americansamoa.gov), announced a proposal to repeal the current ASG pay schedule and implement a new one that the governor proposd to bo into effect July 1, this year. The pay schedule deals with white collar and blue collar workers and other issues.
Samoa News notes that the current government minimum wage under the federal labor law is $5.21 per hour, with the next increase of 30 cents per hour, due on Sept. 30th this year — which is also the same time that minimum wage hikes goes into effect for all other industry sectors in the territory.
During her presentation at the cabinet meeting, Pulou-Alaimalo spoke about the reclassification of pay schedules, saying that this includes an increase in the minimum wage for government workers, which is currently $5.21 per hour. Starting July 1st, the government’s minimum wage increases to $7.25 per hour putting the entry level salary at $15,080 per annum.
Employees currently earning $15,000, $16,000, $17,000 and $18,000 will also get salary increases.
The third salary hike for government workers, she said, is for degree holders, with a new entry-level pay scale. For AA degree holders, their salary hikes from $16,000 to $19,000; Bachelor degrees from $23,000 to $28,000; and salaries for Masters degree holders increases to $35,000 from the current $27,000.
She also said that salary reclassification for the local Education Department for teachers and others is still ongoing but this process is slow-moving due to required documents — such as degree credentials — are not being submitted in a timely manner.
Meanwhile, she expressed appreciation to all ASG entities for placing in their workforce, students recruited for the ASG Summer Youth Employment Program, for which 1,500 applicants were hired but about 80 of them still need to be placed. And she asked cabinet members for their support.
Lemanu told cabinet members that funding source for the new salary increases — for the rest of current fiscal year 2021, which ends Sept. 30 this year — comes from the Special Programs account, which he and Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Ale administer.
For the new fiscal year FY 2022, Samoa News notes that the salary increases will be included in the proposed budget being prepared for submission to the Fono. See story printed elsewhere in today’s edition on the proposed FY 2022 budget.
At the cabinet meeting, the governor also said that with the rise in the cost of living, it was only appropriate that salaries are also increased across the board for government workers. He recalled Talauega’s statement earlier in the cabinet meeting that the new pay hikes also increase consumer buying power and the money will circulate in the economy.
Lemanu revealed that he met recently with Fono leaders, who are heading in the same direction with increases for Legislature employees. And will request the Judicial Branch to follow suit in salary hikes.
For ASG semi autonomous agencies, he asked that leadership in authorities also do the same with the new pay scales.
According to the governor, the next action for the government is to start reclassification of “professional service” workers such as doctors and lawyers.