Retroactive wages owed to the employees and retirees of the government of the Virgin Islands are anticipated to be distributed by Sept. 30, V.I. Division of Personnel Director Cindy Richardson announced on Monday.
On Aug. 31 the 34th Legislature passed Bill No. 34-0289 — an act amending Act. 8474 relating to fiscal year 2022 operating budget for the Government of the Virgin Islands — to appropriate $40 million to pay the outstanding retro payments from the General Fund.
The retroactive wages are for government retirees and employees who worked and were owed between fiscal years 1990 and 2001. So far, a total of $45,717,062 has been paid and the government now owes $175,382,902 to employees, according to Senate testimony by Office of Management and Budget Director Jenifer O’Neal.
“Once the proposed $40 million is appropriated by this body and paid by the executive branch, the balance owed will be reduced to $135,382,901.63. That balance, notwithstanding the fiscal year 2023-2024 budget submitted by Governor Bryan, also included $25 million for each of the next two fiscal years,” O’Neal said in her testimony. “Once those budgets are approved, the debt will be significantly lowered to $85 million by the end of fiscal year 2024.”
O’Neal strongly recommended that senators approve a flat sum of $3,700 to be paid to each person, as was done in 2020.
However, Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory disagreed with the proposal. She said that while the methodology is expedient, it is not fair or effective because all retroactive payments are not equal as it relates to amounts owed. Instead, she proposed an amendment to the bill that offered to pay 22.8 percent of retroactive wages to employees.
As a result, eligible recipients will be receiving a 22.8 percent payout based on the current balance owed, Personnel said in Monday’s press release. All eligible recipients such as active GVI employees, separated GVI employees, retirees, or survivors can view their anticipated gross payout by visiting the 2022 Retroactive Wage Distribution Portal on Division of Personnel’s website.
If you are an active GVI employee who is currently on the central government payroll, you will receive your payment via direct deposit, Personnel said. Separated employees and retirees owed retroactive compensation will have to complete a direct deposit form by Sept. 20. Those who prefer a physical check must ensure their information in the Employee Self Service system is updated. For assistance accessing an ESS account, email Personnel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 340-714-5010.
Survivors of an active, separated GVI employee or retiree who are eligible to receive retroactive payments should visit the website for further instructions to provide necessary documents to complete processing, according to Monday’s press release.
There also are frequently asked questions available on the website. “We highly encourage you to visit www.dopsusvi.org/retro for all your informational needs regarding Retroactive Wage Payouts,” the release stated.
For further information, email email@example.com. A dedicated hotline 340-714-5010 is also available, to speak to a V.I. Division of Personnel representative who can verify information and begin the process of finalizing payments, the release stated.