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Territory’s Minimum Wage Increases

Jan. 20, 2006 – Thanks to a Sept. 26, 2005 move by the Legislature, the minimum wage in the territory went up 50 cents on Jan. 1.
"We are asking all employers in the territory to comply with this new law to avoid costly and time-consuming wage claim violations," Labor Commissioner Cecil Benjamin said in a news release dated Wednesday.
He said Friday that he's had no complaints from either employees or employers.
The increases were welcome in light of the territory's high cost of living and low – or no – benefits for most employees in the private sector.
The minimum wage rose to $5.65 an hour from $5.15 an hour. Benjamin said it will go up another 50 cents on Jan. 1, 2007. The minimum wage had not increased since Sept. 1, 1997.
The minimum wage for tipped employees in the hospitality industry went up to $5.30 from $4.30. Benjamin said this figure will not increase further.
While it's likely that there are employees earning minimum wage, calls to numerous businesses, including restaurants, did not turn up any that said they paid minimum wage.
"I already pay higher," Lime Inn owner Chris Meyer said.
Ronnie Klingsberg, owner of Ronnie's Pizza & Mo' on St. John, also said he pays more than the minimum wage.
"I get a better quality of help," he said.

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