Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signs minimum wage and apprenticeship bills in Adelup on Monday., Oct. 14, 2019.
Guam’s minimum hourly wage officially goes up from $8.25 to $9.25 through a two-tiered installment that begins in March 2020.
Amid the Guam Chamber of Commerce’s opposition, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on Monday signed into law Sen. Joe San Agustin’s Bill 136-35, now Public Law 35-38.
The governor also signed the companion legislation, Bill 128-35, which extends the Guam Registered Apprenticeship Program (GRAP) by five years. The program seeks to improve skills and build a local pool of skilled workforce on Guam. Authored by Sen. Regine Biscoe-Lee, Bill 128-35 is now P.L. 35-39.
“Passing these two bills at the same time will be a good economic plan and will support the enhancement of our economy,” the governor said.
Leon Guerrero said the twin laws were “not just about raising the minimum wage and giving (workers) more buying power but also about moving them on higher career pathways.”
Both bills were unanimously passed by the 35th Guam Legislature.
“We need to raise wages for our working poor. We need to recommit ourselves to this basic belief: if you work full time, you’ll earn at least enough to get by,” Lee had remarked during legislative debate on the measure.
The apprenticeship program, Lee said, is the highly successful public-private partnership incentivizes professional development for local workers by subsidizing – through tax credits— up to half of approved training costs.
“Together, these two laws can begin an upswing in Guam’s economy,” Sen. Lee said. “While there isn’t an economic silver bullet, our government today is showing its commitment to provide every opportunity, pursue every avenue, and progress every facet of our collective goal to make both workers and businesses proposer.”
Read more in November issue of the Pacific Island Times print edition.