San Nicolas wage bill aims to help homelessness, labor shortage, economy

Democrat Sen. Dwayne San Nicolas talks with the Pacific News Center on May 19 at his office in Hagatna. Photo by PNC's Isaiah Aguon

Democrat Sen. Dwayne San Nicolas clarified his intentions of Bill 115-37, which if passed, would authorize local employers and businesses to hire people for a wage between the federal and Guam’s minimum wage, which is a $2 difference.

Community concerns surfaced after this piece of legislation, a measure if enacted that establishes a different wage system for individuals hired for training purposes, was introduced. 

In an interview with the Pacific News Center, San Nicolas elaborated on the legislative measure.

“When we first put it out there everybody was like no we are going to revert back to $7.25 but that is not the case,” said San Nicolas. “What we are trying to do is entice businesses and employers to hire between $7.25 to $9.25. Let’s say you were unemployed and homeless for six months, come in for employment and we offer for $7.50 and $8.25 to get vetted and trained. The duration is for six months, training them and hiring them at a much higher rate at $9.25.” 

The bill states, “the Guam Legislature finds that allowing employers and businesses to pay unemployed individuals the Federal minimum wage for training purposes will not only help reduce the island’s unemployment rate but also stimulate our economy and create more skilled individuals in the workforce.”

The goal is to help address the homeless population on Guam, the labor shortage, and the island’s economy, he added. It also aims to build the skillset of those who enter the workforce. 

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, while Guam minimum wage is two dollars more at $9.25 per hour.

It shall be active upon enactment. 

The legislative measure does have a sunset provision, meaning it will expire after December 30, 2025.

The bill is co-sponsored by Democrat Sen. Joe San Agustin and Republican Sen. Chris Duenas.


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Isaiah Aguon, also known as Izzy, is news director for the Pacific News Center. He returned to PNC in April 2023, after leaving Sorensen Media Group about two years ago in April 2021. As news director, his duties include anchoring PNC's radio and television stations, producing news, and managing and editing PNC's digital and social media platforms. Aguon, 21, formerly worked at KUAM News as a television news anchor, show host, and multimedia journalist for more than a year. He previously worked for The Guam Daily Post, Marianas Business Journal, and Guam Business Magazine.

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