Port: Policy requires 'actual' work for overtime pay

SEAPORT: Port Authority of Guam gantry cranes can be seen at the seaport in April in Piti. Port management clarified Monday that overtime will not be paid to those who didn't accrue more than 40 hours of "actual work." David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

A new pay code is set to go into effect at the Port Authority of Guam on Sept. 26, which ensures only actual hours worked will be used to add up hours for the purpose of applying overtime.

This means hours counted as COVID-19 "release time off," or RTO, will be excluded when adding up hours to see if an employee has worked overtime.

Work done above 40 hours in the week is considered overtime.

Under the new code, the RTO will be recorded separately from straight time hours.

However, Port General Manger Rory Respicio clarified that RTO will not be excluded when calculating regular pay for the week. 

Under stricter COVID-19 conditions, the Port has tried to limit the amount of people present at a time without compromising supply chain operations, Respicio said. This means sending employees home if there is no vessel work to be done. 

Before COVID-19, the practice was to perform some Port-related work, such as straightening up docks or doing yard work in surrounding properties, if there's no vessel operations available, Respicio said. 

"But because of the COVID pandemic and the goal to reduce the workforce population whenever possible, it's been a practice to secure them. Meaning tell them to go home," Respicio said.

"They'll always get their 40 hours minimum. ... In the governor's executive orders, for those employees who don't have to be at work, they're still be timed in as regular time. But I cannot time them in regular time in the system, because that will show they were physically here and that will trigger automatic calculation of overtime," he added.

A Port memo distributed Monday stated Port personnel rules and federal wage laws require an employee to work 40 hours of "actual" work to accrue overtime in a workweek or work period. Therefore, any RTO must not count toward "actual" work hour for overtime pay, the memo stated.

There's been seven COVID-19 cases at the Port in total throughout the pandemic, Respicio said. 

"I didn't want them to kind of be bush cutting and doing other stuff and run the risk of being affected," he added. 

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