Palau Sessional Legislation
First Regular Session, January 2013
RPPL No. 9-1
(Passed as Senate Bill No. 9-1, SD2, HD3, CD1)
To amend 30 PNC § 125 to increase the minimum wage in the Republic of Palau, to modify the exemptions to the minimum wage law, and for other related purposes.
THE PEOPLE OF PALAU REPRESENTED IN THE OLBIIL ERA KELULAU DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Amendment. 30 PNC § 125 is hereby amended to read as follows:
"§ 125. Minimum wage.
(a) On October 1, 2013 every employer in the Republic shall pay a minimum wage of $2.75 per hour. On October 1 of each subsequent year, the minimum wage shall increase by $0.25 per hour until it reaches $3.50 per hour. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this Section, all employers shall pay the minimum wage to their employees, including employers in the hotel, motel, tourist, restaurant, or other industries whose employees may customarily and regularly receive tips for direct and personal customer service. The minimum wage increase shall not apply to contracts in existence prior to October 1, 2013, but any contract made on or after that date must observe the applicable minimum wage in place at that time.
(b) The minimum wage established in subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to the following:
(1) Up to two individuals employed as farmers by a single employer.
(2) Up to two individuals employed as domestic helpers, caretakers, babysitters, or house boys.
(3) Employees who are students,
(4) Employees twenty years of age or younger, hired on a probationary basis, for a period not to exceed 90 days.
(5) Employees of non-profit organizations,
(c) An employer required to pay minimum wage pursuant to this Section shall not be obligated to pay for the employee's travel, food, housing or other living expenses.
(d) An employer required to pay minimum wage pursuant to this Section may take into account the provision of housing and food to the employee in calculating the wages paid to the employee by deducting the reasonable cost of housing and food provided to the employee. The reasonable cost to the employer of housing and food must reflect the actual cost of providing housing and food to the employee, exclusive of profit to the employer. Housing and food will only be deemed to have been paid as wages if the employee received the food and occupied the housing. The cost of housing and food included towards calculating the employee's wage shall be included as income for purposes of reporting taxable income.
(e) Penalties. An employer who violates the requirements of this Section shall be subject to a civil penalty of $500.00 and a penalty of the equivalent of all unpaid taxes and social security contributions plus interest on the wages not paid to the employee, for each violation. Violations of this section include the payment by an employer of less than the minimum wage to any employee performing work other than that described by the employees exempted from the minimum wage requirements under paragraph (b).
(f) Civil cause of action.
(1) Any employee entitled to the minimum wage established in subsection (a) of this section who does not receive it shall have a civil cause of action in any court of appropriate jurisdiction, either through the Office of Attorney General, or through the aggrieved employee's choice of private representation or self-representation.
(2) The aggrieved employee must notify the Attorney General in writing of the alleged violation. If the Attorney General does not take action within 90 days of the date of the notice, the aggrieved employee may initiate his or her own court action.
(3) An employee who does not receive minimum wage shall be entitled to receive damages and such other remedies as may be appropriate, including punitive damages from the employer in an amount not to exceed $1,500,00 in the court's discretion. Any employee who prevails in a suit brought pursuant to this section shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees incurred in prosecuting the action."
Section 2. Effective date. This act shall take effect upon its approval by the President, or upon becoming law without such approval, except as otherwise provided by law.
PASSED: April 26, 2013
Approved this 30th day of April , 2013.
Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.
Republic of Palau