What Is the Minimum Wage in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands?

Bradley Robbins
The United States and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands flags against a cloudy blue sky
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2020 Minimum Wage in the Northern Mariana Islands: $7.25 per hour

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or CNMI, follows United States federal wage minimums, despite it only having one representative in the U.S. House of Representatives and no representation in the congressional Senate. The federally mandated minimum wage applies exactly as it does in the U.S. mainland, with the same sets of exceptions and rules for salaried employees.

Tipped: $2.13

Tipped workers in the CNMI receive an hourly cash wage of as little as $2.13. Employers have to cover any shortfall between the hourly cash wage and the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour, but employees do not have to return any overage. This ensures that tipped employees should always make at least the federal minimum, even with few to zero tips.

Weekly: $280

Workers in the CNMI make $280 a week during a standard 40-hour workweek. This amount does not account for tips above the minimum or overtime and holiday hours. Most employees work eight-hour days over five days per week.

Annually: $15,080

The annual income for local workers receiving the minimum wage is $15,080. This means that a single-income family of two falls below national poverty guidelines of $16,020 per year.

Young Workers: $4.25

Workers under the age of 20 may work for up to 90 days at a rate of $4.25 per hour. This wage is meant to help young workers gain the experience needed to join the workforce. Upon completion of the first 90 days of employment, or the employee’s 20th birthday, whichever comes first, the rate of pay automatically increases to the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Disabled and Student Workers: $6.16

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers with a physical or mental disability that affects their performance or ability to work may receive a lower wage. In the CNMI, that equates to a wage of $6.16, or 85% of the minimum wage. Similarly, students currently enrolled in collegiate or vocational programs may be paid this same rate.

Informal Workers

The minimum wage does not apply for “informal workers,” including contract workers in the gig economy, as well as babysitters and others working outside of normal W-2 employee arrangements. These workers are typically not considered “employees,” and are not subject to overtime or holiday pay rate increases or limitations.

Overtime: $10.88 per hour

Employees working an excess of 40 hours per week will receive a rate of 1.5 times their hourly wage for each hour worked over 40 as overtime pay. This equates to $10.88 per hour. There is no maximum number of days that may be worked, but the 40-hour overtime limit is set firm. So employees may work 40 hours over 7 days a week without days off and still never receive overtime. 

Northern Mariana Islands Minimum Wage Increase News

Despite its otherwise close ties to Guam and many referendums to join the protectorate, the CNMI does not have the same minimum wage or any plans to increase its pay rates. This means that it is reliant on the U.S. federal minimum for determining how workers are paid in the commonwealth. Federal political pushes, such as “Fight for $15,” may help raise the rate over time, but with only a single representative who is able to debate (but not vote), the CNMI is unlikely to have much say in U.S. federal changes.

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