PALAU MINIMUM WAGE REFORM BILL DIES

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Senate passes bill but House fails to deliberate on it

By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, Jan. 21, 2009) - The proposed measure which increases the minimum wage from US$2.50 to US$3 was not tackled by the 7th House of Delegates (HOD) due to lack of quorum.

The bill which was passed on final and third reading by the Senate but the former members of the HOD failed to deliberate on the measure.

The current minimum wage law does not allow most nonresident workers to receive minimum wage, the measure redefines who is eligible to receive the minimum wage.

The bill is also aimed at maximizing the potential of local workers.

The bill also changes the gross annual income for businesses which are exempted from paying the minimum wage to US$50,000.

Exempting the minimum wage for fisherman, farmers, and domestic servants or helpers will allow the continued utilization of the employees by locals.

The bill also calls for an increase in penalties and an addition of civil remedies an employee may seek for an employer’s violation of this section to make hiring of Palauans more attractive.

The bill also said that after every five years of consecutive employment by an employee, the minimum wage for the employee shall increase by 20 cents.

The bill said the increase will apply to all employees and will be applied retroactively for current employees.

The bill however takes away the housing benefits for foreign employees.

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