The business sector is pushing for a one-year delay in the implementation of the planned minimum wage increase in March.
Representatives of the sector —- from hotels, restaurants to employees — expressed their support for a measure that seeks to delay the implementation by a year.
Public Law 35-38 was enacted during the last legislative cycle. The legislation provided a two-tier approach toward increasing the minimum wage — the first 50 cents increase took place on March 1, 2020, raising the minimum wage to $8.75 an hour
Now the second 50 cent increase is due this year on March 1. This would raise the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour.
Recognizing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to local businesses, Sen. James Moylan introduced Bill 24-36 to postpone its implementation until next year.
At last night’s public hearing for the bill, local business groups, owners, and employees expressed their support for the proposed legislation.
GHRA President Mary Rhodes said, “Of all the business sectors, the accommodations, food services, retail industries have been the hardest hit — with more than 16,000 jobs have been lost in the tourism industry out of a total of approximately 27,000 individuals who have received the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.”
“I just got recently hired and I would hate to see the company that recently hired me…reduce hours …or let me go….just because they need to increase everyone’s pay to $9.25 an hour,” Dominic J. Hernandez, a concerned citizen said.
On his part, GPO General Manager Monte Mesa, spoke on behalf of the tenants at GPO: “We are not against raising the minimum wage..we are opposed to raising it this time when our economy is at its lowest point.
At the start of the legislative hearing, Moylan said many businesses are still in the recovery phase and with bleak tourism arrivals projected this year, it would be unreasonable to mandate an additional cost to the businesses at this time.