FSM eyeing minimum wage increase for government employees

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FSM president David Panuelo

FSM President David W. Panuelo has endorsed Congressional Bill 21-04, which would increase the salaries of all public servants working for the FSM National Government by eight percent.

“Public servants deserve to be appropriately compensated for their hard work,” Panuelo said in a statement. 

Panuelo added: “Too many FSM citizens, even before the COVID-19 Pandemic, have found it difficult to meet their needs for food, power and water utilities, healthcare, and housing expenses. When even our own Government’s employees opt out of Government healthcare programs because they cannot afford both healthcare and food, or when citizens must choose between a sack of rice for their family or shoes for their children, it suggests that our Nation’s wealth inequality remains as much of an existential threat to our continued sovereignty and wellbeing as Climate Change.”

He is also calling the State Governments of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae to support increasing their respective minimum wages.

“The minimum wage in Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae is too low for citizens to live on,” President Panuelo said. “Hardworking citizens who put in their eighty hours every two weeks often find themselves with paychecks totaling one hundred dollars or less. It’s unsustainable for our Nation’s future, and drives our most talented from leaving our shores to the United States where I am increasingly hearing calls for a minimum wage of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per hour,” he said. 

He added: “While I am sure the FSM’s public and private sectors cannot afford a minimum wage of $15.00 an hour, I call on our State Governments of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae to consider increasing their respective minimum wages.”