Moylan: Allow economy to recover first before considering minimum wage increase

Senator James Moylan (PNC file photo)

With all the challenges faced by the business community during the pandemic…another challenge is scheduled to come into effect in less than two months in the form of an increase to the minimum wage.

In response, Senator James Moylan has introduced a bill to provide some relief.

In 2019, Public Law 35-38 was passed raising the minimum wage. By law, Guam was to raise the minimum wage by 50 cents in two stages.

The first increase was on March 1st of last year and the next increase is due for March 1st of this year.

But with the myriad challenges imposed on the business community by the pandemic, some feel this is the wrong time to raise wages.

In response, Senator James Moylan authored Bill 24-36. The bill aims to defer the minimum wage increase up to one year. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Mary Torres, Frank Blas Jr., and Chris Duenas.

Senator Moylan says he also consulted with the Guam Chamber of Commerce and the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association on the bill.

Moylan says the bill simply asks for a delay to allow the economy to recover from the pandemic before adding another cost to businesses that have already been pushed to the limit.

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“First, it’s the small businesses that really take the impact. And with this economic crisis, this bill would assist, we believe, the small businesses to recoup. So that’s one. And the second thing that the bill intends to do is allow more people to get back to work. It’s going to be hard for the small businesses to open their doors once again. Maybe they have to get inventory. Maybe they have to redo their ideas of what they’re going to sell and how they’re going to approach their sales and marketing plan. But we should also allow them the option to give their employees that increase or not. Let’s not mandate it. Let’s allow the businesses the opportunity to recoup their time and their lost revenue that they’ve had over 10 … going on 11 months now,” Moylan said.

Moylan hopes to complete public hearings and committee reports as soon as possible and to have the bill on the session floor by February.