MOU in the works for USDOL presence in territory
If the memorandum of understanding between the American Samoa Government and the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is signed, the parties will have agreed they will work together for the development of an American Samoa Department of Labor.
The draft MOU leaked to Samoa News states that their mutual goals are to provide clear, accurate, and easy-to-access outreach to private sector employers and their employees, ASG Departments and their employees, and other stakeholders. Other goals include the sharing of resources and information consistent with applicable law.
The draft MOU says both parties recognize the value of establishing a collaborative relationship to promote compliance with laws of common concern in American Samoa, and that forming this partnership is to more effectively and efficiently communicate and cooperate on areas of common interest.
It is also meant to share training materials, to provide employers and employees with compliance assistance information, to directly educate ASG on application of federal laws to its employees and to assist, upon request, in the development of an American Samoa Department of Labor.
The ASDOL’s purpose will then be to establish and enforce a minimum wage, overtime premium, child labor employment standards and record keeping requirements among other baseline labor provisions for its non-governmental workforce.
According to the draft MOU, the USDOL-WHD is responsible for administering and enforcing a wide range of labor laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, worker protections provided in several temporary visa programs, and the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Service Contract Act. Nothing in this agreement limits the WHD’s enforcement of these and other statutes.
ASG is responsible for administering and enforcing locally entitled wages, overtime premiums and record keeping requirements for its government-wide workforce as well as adherence to federally applicable labor standards.
The presence of the federal USDOL-WHD with an office in the territory was first announced in a cabinet meeting last year by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga.
Samoa News should point out that the previous ASG administration was fined over $900K by USDOL for non-compliance with U.S. wage laws governing overtime and age discrimination.