San Nicolas drafts bill allowing employers to hire unemployed people for $7.25 an hour

Sen. Dwayne San Nicolas

Democrat Sen. Dwayne San Nicolas has drafted a bill, which was exclusively provided to the Pacific News Center, that would help people get a job for a rate an hour, lower than Guam’s minimum wage.

The drafted bill, if enacted, would authorize local employers and businesses to pay people, who have been unemployed for six months, anywhere from the federal minimum wage up to the Guam minimum wage for training purposes.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, while the minimum wage on the island is two dollars more at $9.25 an hour.

He shared how the idea of the bill came about. 

“I am inspired by the unemployment, homelessness, and also our high schoolers who don’t have a job and don’t really have a choice but to join the military afterwards when they graduate,” said San Nicolas, during an interview with PNC. “So, this would allow anyone eligible to work come in at the rate for training purposes and allow businesses to vet them in hopes they improve their skills, gain new skills, and get employed at a much higher rate. To hire for training purposes. It has a sunset provision for two years.”

He said that this piece of legislation would benefit the island’s economy. 

“It is an economic recovery bill where we are trying to get people to work and employers to employ people who they may not have otherwise thought of employing,” San Nicolas said. 

He added that people getting paid $7.25 an hour full time will still qualify for public assistance benefits as 80 hours of pay does not succeed the $1200 threshold. 

San Nicolas told PNC that the drafted bill has been sent to colleagues, seeking cosponsorship.