Minimum wage will have minimal impact

(PNC photo)

Guam – A new minimum wage proposal will not have too much of an effect, according to a professor from the University of Guam.

UOG professor Roseann Jones said a bill filed in the Legislature calling for a $9.25 minimum wage by March 1, 2021 will only have a minimal impact because existing wages already hover around that figure.

Senator Joe S. San Agustin and nine co-sponsors earlier introduced Bill 136-35 (COR), which aims to raise Guam’s hourly minimum wage in two 50-cent increments — from $8.25 to $8.75 by March 1, 2020, and ultimately to $9.25 by March 1, 2021.

With prices on everything from gas to groceries going up and utilities looking at rate increases, San Agustin said wages cannot remain stagnant.

However, the Guam Chamber of Commerce has expressed its opposition against an increase in the minimum wage, warning that this may result in economic dislocation.

But Professor Jones, who made a minimum wage presentation yesterday, pointed out that the lowest wage levels on island are already slightly above or only slightly below the proposed minimum wage proposal.

Jones also said that the existing wage levels are already being determined by market forces. In any case, San Agustin is continuing to call on residents and stakeholders – employees, employers, governmental and private organizations – to offer their thoughts on raising the minimum wage to $9.25 by next January.