What Is the Minimum Wage in American Samoa?

Nicolas Cesare  | 

American Samoa occupies a unique place in minimum wage law. In 2007, Congress passed the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which raised the minimum wage across the nation and its territories to $7.25 an hour. The law left the door open for states and local governments to raise their own minimum wages even higher if they so desired, but no state or territory was permitted to have a minimum wage below the federal minimum wage.

So, in 2007, American Samoa began to incrementally increase its minimum wage towards the $7.25 standard, as did other U.S. states and territories. However, following economic turmoil in American Samoa, Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act in 2015, setting a schedule for incremental increases of the minimum wage in American Samoa based on the minimum wage as of September 29, which had not yet been raised to $7.25 an hour.

According to this new schedule, the minimum wage in American Samoa would be raised by 40 cents per hour every three years, starting on September 30, 2015, up until the point where the minimum wage in American Samoa is identical to the federal minimum wage.

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2020 Minimum Wage in American Samoa: $4.98 to $6.39 per hour

Today, the minimum wage in American Samoa varies depending on industry. Those amounts, expressed as per hour wages, are as follows:

  • Canning: $5.56;
  • Shipping: $6.18 to $6.39, depending on duties;
  • Travel Services: $5.78;
  • Petroleum Marketing: $6.15;
  • Construction: $5.90;
  • Hotel: $5.30;
  • Retail: $5.40;
  • Ship Maintenance: $5.81;
  • Bottling: $5.49;
  • Printing: $5.80;
  • Finance and Insurance: $6.29;
  • Private Hospitals and Educational Institutions: $5.63;
  • Government Employees: $5.21;
  • Miscellaneous: $5.00;
  • Garment Manufacturing: $4.98;
  • Publishing: $5.93.

These minimum wage amounts are applicable in American Samoa as of September 30, 2018, and will remain so until September 30, 2021. 

Tipped: $2.13 per hour

Employers who have employees that make a significant portion of their income from tips are allowed to claim a tip credit against the minimum wage. If employers claim the maximum available tip credit, they are required to pay tipped employees $2.13 per hour.

Weekly: $199 to $255

An employee working 40 hours a week at minimum wage could expect to make a weekly wage of between $199 and $255, depending on the industry that they work in. This amount does not include taxes or benefits deducted from an employee’s paycheck.

Note that, due to changes in FLSA white-collar exemptions, the minimum wage has increased for white-collar workers as of January 1, 2020. This change raises the rate from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $684 per week ($35,568 per year) for this group of employees.

Annually: $10,358 to $13,291

An employee working 40 hours a week for a full year at minimum wage could expect to make an annual wage of between $10,358 and $13,291, depending on the industry that they work in. This amount does not include taxes or benefits deducted from an employee’s paycheck.

Overtime: $7.47 to $9.59 per hour

Employees in American Samoa are covered by federal laws regarding overtime pay, which requires hourly employees to receive 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for each hour over 40 that they work in a week. 

The aforementioned changes to FLSA white-collar exemptions will expand eligibility for overtime for white-collar workers, as they will have to be re-classified and no longer remain exempt. This means that approximately 1.3 million new employees will now be eligible for overtime pay. 

American Samoa Minimum Wage Increase News

American Samoa is scheduled for a $0.40 increase in its minimum wage every three years. The most recent increase was on September 30 of 2018, and that increased determined the minimum wage in American Samoa in 2019. The next increase is scheduled for September 30, 2021, and it will raise the minimum wage to between $5.38 and $6.79 per hour, depending on the industry.

Under this schedule, it will take until 2036 before the lowest-paid industries in American Samoa reach the current federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. The scheduled minimum wage increases are determined to stop when the minimum wage in American Samoa reaches the federal minimum wage.

The Raise the Wage Act, which passed in the House of Representatives, would raise the minimum wage to $15. If the federal minimum wage were to increase, the scheduled raises in American Samoa would continue until the minimum wage there matches the new federal minimum wage — unless the law surrounding those raises were to also change. However, the bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate, with political commentators calling the legislation all but dead.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/

Nick Cesare is a writer from Boise, ID. In his free time he enjoys rock climbing and making avocado toast.