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American Samoa

Salary and Compensation Insights

Explore salary structures and compensation details in American Samoa

Market competitive salaries

Determining market competitive salaries in American Samoa requires a nuanced approach due to the territory's unique economic landscape. Here's a breakdown of key factors to consider:

Limited Salary Data Availability

Unlike larger economies, American Samoa has a relatively small population and job market. This scarcity can limit the availability of comprehensive salary data. While some salary data aggregators provide estimates for American Samoa, they might not be as detailed or extensive as those found for the mainland United States.

Cost of Living Considerations

American Samoa generally has a higher cost of living compared to the mainland United States. This is due to factors like import reliance and limited local production. When considering market competitiveness, salaries should ideally account for the higher cost of living to attract and retain qualified employees.

Industry and Skill-set Specificity

Similar to other locations, market competitive salaries in American Samoa vary depending on the specific industry and the required skill set for the job. Specialized skills or experience may command a premium wage. For a more precise understanding of competitive salaries, professional association salary reports or job postings from reputable companies in American Samoa can offer valuable insights. For instance, an engineer with a niche specialization might demand a higher salary compared to an administrative assistant, even within the same company.

Location Considerations

Salary expectations might also differ slightly between the main island of Tutuila and outlying islands like Manu'a due to varying living costs and remoteness.

Minimum wage

American Samoa's minimum wage situation is unique due to its territorial status within the United States. It doesn't have a separate territorial minimum wage established by local legislation. Instead, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies. This means the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour serves as the baseline for most non-exempt jobs in American Samoa.

Federal Minimum Wage as the Baseline

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the legislative reference that applies to American Samoa. It establishes the federal minimum wage which is currently set at $7.25 per hour.

Industry-Specific Increases

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 introduced a staged increase system for American Samoa. This established industry-specific minimum wage rates that are gradually rising to reach parity with the federal minimum wage. These industry rates are adjusted every three years on September 30th until they reach the federal minimum. The most recent increase occurred on September 30th, 2021.

Important Considerations

Employers must adhere to the higher minimum wage if the industry-specific rate for a particular job category is higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Employees covered by the Merit System Law or the federal minimum wage schedule established in 1967 are not subject to the territorial minimum wage statute.

Bonuses and allowances

In American Samoa, bonuses and allowances are not mandatory but are provided at the discretion of the employer. Here's a brief overview of what some employers might offer:

Performance-Based Bonuses

  • Production Bonuses: Employers may offer bonuses in manufacturing or service-oriented roles tied to exceeding specific production targets or performance goals.
  • Sales Incentives: Employees in sales positions may receive bonuses based on exceeding sales quotas or achieving revenue targets.

Cost-of-Living Allowances

  • Housing Allowances: Some employers might offer housing allowances due to the higher cost of living in American Samoa compared to the mainland US, especially those recruiting from outside the territory.
  • Transportation Allowances: Employers might provide transportation allowances to offset commuting costs, particularly if public transportation options are limited.

Other Potential Benefits

  • Health Insurance: Some employers might offer health insurance as part of their benefits package to attract and retain talent.
  • Retirement Savings Plans: Some employers might contribute to employee retirement savings plans, although this is less common.

Please note that the specific types and amounts of bonuses and allowances offered can vary depending on the industry, company size, and employee position. These benefits are typically outlined in individual employment contracts or company policy manuals.

Payroll cycle

In American Samoa, established practices for payroll cycles are followed, which are influenced by both federal regulations and local customs.

Common Payroll Frequency

The most common payroll cycle in American Samoa is bi-weekly (twice a month). This aligns with practices in the mainland United States under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Less Frequent Cycles (Possible, but Less Common)

Some employers, particularly those with smaller workforces or government entities, might opt for a monthly payroll cycle.

Important Considerations

Regardless of the chosen frequency, employers must ensure timely payments as per the agreed-upon schedule outlined in the employment contract. There's no legal requirement for a 13th-month bonus in American Samoa. However, some companies might offer it as part of their annual compensation package, similar to practices in some neighboring island nations.

Additional Notes

Since American Samoa uses the US dollar as its currency, payroll calculations and tax withholdings typically follow similar federal guidelines as in the mainland United States. Employers are responsible for mandated deductions such as Social Security and Medicare taxes, which are then remitted to the relevant federal agencies. By understanding these practices and adhering to relevant legal and financial regulations, employers in American Samoa can ensure a smooth and compliant payroll process for their employees.

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