3,460 to benefit from first minimum wage hike

JOB FAIR: J.P. Torres Success Academy students fill out job applications and other documents during a job fair at the Santa Rita school in May. Entry level jobs will pay more when Guam's minimum wage increases from $8.25 to $8.75 in March. Post file photo

An estimated 3,460 employees who get paid the $8.25 minimum wage will see a slight pay increase in March 2020 after Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signs the wage hike legislation this week.

The governor has said she will sign into law the measure that would raise the minimum wage in two stages. She has a deadline of Oct. 18, or this Friday, to sign it into law.

The first increase, to $8.75, would take effect on March 1, 2020.

The next 50-cent raise would take effect March 1, 2021, boosting the minimum wage to $9.25 hourly.

Guam Department of Labor Chief Economist Gary Hiles stated the impact to many of those receiving an increase “will be measurable and significant.”

“The impact on the economy as a whole is likely to be neutral to slightly positive – as low-wage earners are likely to spend a high percentage of the increases, which will recirculate in the economy,” Hiles stated in a recent response to The Guam Daily Post.

Employers, particularly with a large share of employees who will be affected by the wage increase, may have to make adjustments to their operations or prices, Hiles stated.

“As the economy is expanding with increased military-related construction and increased tourism, the wage increases will generally but modestly positively impact the labor force,” Hiles added.

A 2018 Guam employment survey shows most of the workers who will benefit from the 50-cent hourly wage raise are from the following groups in the private sector:

• food preparation and serving-related occupations, 710 minimum wage earners;

• office and administrative support occupations, 660 minimum wage earners;

• building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations, 420 minimum wage earners;

• sales and related occupations, 410 minimum wage earners;

• food service waiters and waitresses, 280 minimum wage earners;

• janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners 190 minimum wage earners;

• maids and housekeeping cleaners, 190 minimum wage earners;

• stock clerks and order fillers, 190 minimum wage earners; and

• cashiers, 180 minimum wage earners.

The 2018 survey showed there were 70 government of Guam entry-level employees who make minimum wage.

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