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HR reviews Customs time cards; 13 entitled to OT

Human Resources Director Sonny Thompson has returned 38 timecards and time sheets back to the Treasury Department for Customs officers who claim they were entitled to overtime incurred from pay periods15- 24, last year.


Earlier this year a petition signed by close to 30 Customs Officers about non payment of their overtime and comp time, appealed to the Equal Employment Officer, Sam Tinae.


In response to Samoa News queries, Thompson explained that HR has signed off on some OT and Compensatory time, which HR determined to be “legitimate OT” while the rest has been sent back to the Treasury Department due to “inconsistencies” — saying they are “questionable”.


He noted that for 13 Customs officers, HR has reviewed their timecards and determined they are entitled to the overtime, and they have received in total $12,249.89.


The HR Director pointed out the overtime issue is now back at the Treasury Department. He explained that following the hearing before the Senate on the OT issue, he met with the Treasurer who claimed that he would provide Thompson with said timecards and time sheets, and the total amount due was $57,278. However, Thompson informed the Treasurer to review the time cards prior to sending them to HR.


“However when we (HR) received the timecards and time sheets it appeared that they had not been reviewed. We (HR) reviewed all the timecards and time sheets and came to the conclusion that only 13 Customs officers were entitled to the OT,” said Thompson.


Asked about the inconsistencies and questionable time cards and time sheets, Thompson explained that, according to local statute, in order for any employee to be entitled to overtime they must work 40 hours a week, however the matter before them is that a majority of the customs officers did not fulfill the 40 hours work on the weekly basis, rather a majority had worked 32, and some 35 hours per week, making up the 40 hours with sick leave or annual leave.


“Unless you have worked 40 hours in that particular week in which you claim overtime, you are not entitled to overtime. We (ASG) cannot pay your overtime when the government has already paid you annual or sick leave, so as of now we have returned the rejected time cards and time sheets back to the Treasury Department.”


Efforts to obtain a comment from Treasurer Dr Falema’o Phil Pili were not immediately returned.