Rivermate | Guam flag


Discover everything you need to know about Guam

Hire in Guam at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Guam

United States Dollar
GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
40 hours/week

Overview in Guam

Read more


Guam, the largest island in the Mariana Islands chain, is located in the Western Pacific Ocean. It has a diverse terrain with a flat limestone plateau in the north and volcanic hills in the south, surrounded by beaches, coral reefs, and cliffs. Guam has a tropical marine climate with warm temperatures throughout the year.

Historically, the Chamorro people first inhabited Guam around 4,000 years ago. It was claimed by Spain in 1521, captured by the U.S. in 1898, and occupied by Japan during World War II. Today, Guam is an unincorporated U.S. territory with limited self-governance.

The island's economy is primarily driven by tourism, with significant contributions from U.S. military bases. The service sector is also a major employer. Chamorro culture remains influential, blending Spanish, Filipino, American, and other cultural elements. The workforce is diverse and relatively young, with ongoing efforts to address skill gaps in various sectors.

Key sectors include the public sector, tourism, construction, and healthcare. The presence of U.S. military bases significantly impacts the economy. Emerging sectors include technology and renewable energy, with initiatives to establish Guam as a regional tech hub and to expand sustainable practices.

Cultural aspects such as respect for elders, the importance of family, and a relaxed pace known as "island time" influence work and communication styles. Organizational hierarchies tend to be centralized, with a focus on teamwork and interdependence.

Taxes in Guam

Read more
  • Employer Tax Responsibilities in Guam: Employers in Guam are required to contribute to Social Security and Medicare taxes, pay unemployment insurance, provide workers' compensation insurance, and pay a Gross Receipts Tax on business revenue.

  • Social Security and Medicare Taxes: Employers contribute 6.2% of an employee's gross wages up to the Social Security wage base for Social Security taxes and 1.45% of gross wages for Medicare taxes with no wage limit.

  • Unemployment Insurance: Rates vary based on the employer's experience rating.

  • Workers' Compensation Insurance: This is mandatory and obtained from private insurers, with premiums depending on industry risks.

  • Gross Receipts Tax: Employers must pay this tax on their business revenue.

  • Tax Withholding and Payment: Employers withhold employee taxes and remit both employer and employee contributions to the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation. Guam's income tax system mirrors the U.S. federal system.

  • Tax Returns: Individuals must file both U.S. federal and Guam territorial income tax returns annually by April 15th.

  • Guam's Tax System: The primary local revenue source is the General Sales Tax (GST) at 4%, applied to most retail goods and services, with certain exemptions.

  • VAT vs. GST: Guam does not use a VAT system but a GST, which is simpler and applied only at the point of sale.

  • Tax Incentives: The Qualifying Certificate (QC) Program offers rebates and abatements on various taxes to businesses contributing to Guam's economy, with eligibility based on the sector and economic contribution.

  • Application for Tax Incentives: Businesses must apply through the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) to receive tax incentives.

Leave in Guam

Read more

In Guam, private-sector employers are not legally required to provide paid vacation leave, with such benefits typically outlined in employment contracts or company policies. Public sector employees, however, follow federal vacation leave accrual systems. The text also lists U.S. public holidays and notes that some, like All Souls' Day, may be observed in Guam under specific conditions. Other types of leave mentioned include sick leave, which is not mandated for private-sector employees but may be offered voluntarily, and FMLA, which provides unpaid, job-protected leave under certain conditions. Additionally, Guam law may cover jury duty and military reserve service, with varying provisions on whether such leave is paid or unpaid.

Benefits in Guam

Read more

Labor Laws and Employee Benefits in Guam

Guam, a U.S. territory, adheres to both federal and local regulations concerning labor laws and employee benefits. Here are the key aspects:

  • Minimum Wage and Overtime: Guam follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), setting the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour and requiring overtime pay at 1.5 times the regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 per week.

  • Probationary Period: There is no federally mandated probationary period, allowing employers in Guam to set their own policies.

  • Public Holidays: Employees are entitled to paid time off on designated public holidays, including New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, among others.

  • Leave Programs: The Guam Family and Medical Leave Act (GFMLEA) allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for maternity, paternity, and serious health conditions affecting immediate family members.

  • Health and Wellness: While not mandatory, many employers offer supplemental health insurance and wellness programs, including gym memberships and on-site fitness facilities.

  • Financial Security: Optional benefits such as life insurance and various retirement plans (e.g., Government of Guam Retirement Fund, 401(k) plans) are available to enhance financial security for employees.

  • Work-Life Balance: Flexible work arrangements and additional paid time off (PTO) are provided by some employers to help employees manage personal commitments.

  • Other Perks: Employers may offer educational assistance, employee discounts, and other benefits to attract and retain talent.

  • Health Insurance: Employers in Guam are not required to provide health insurance, but many offer plans to attract skilled workers. The Government of Guam provides a self-insured plan for its employees, and private health insurance is also available.

  • Retirement Savings: The primary option is the Government of Guam Retirement Fund (GGRF), with defined benefit and defined contribution plans. Alternative retirement plans and IRAs are also options for supplementing retirement savings.

These regulations and benefits ensure that employees in Guam have protections similar to those in the U.S., with some local adaptations.

Workers Rights in Guam

Read more

In Guam, the employment-at-will doctrine allows employers to terminate employees without cause, subject to specific laws and contractual agreements. There are no general statutory requirements for advance notice of termination, though exceptions exist under collective bargaining agreements, company policies, and the federal WARN Act, which requires 60 days' notice for mass layoffs or plant closures. Severance pay is not mandated unless specified by contract or company policy.

Guam law mandates immediate final paychecks for involuntarily terminated employees and provides robust anti-discrimination protections based on various characteristics, including race, sex, age, and disability. Victims of workplace discrimination can seek redress through the Fair Employment Practice Division, the EEOC, or civil lawsuits.

Employers must ensure a safe workplace, comply with hazard communication standards, and provide necessary training and safety equipment. Employees have rights to a safe work environment, can report unsafe conditions, and refuse unsafe work without retaliation.

The standard work week in Guam is 40 hours, with required overtime pay for hours exceeding this limit. While specific rest periods are not mandated, breaks are commonly provided. There are no specific ergonomic regulations, but best practices are encouraged to prevent injuries.

Overall, Guam enforces a mix of local and federal regulations to ensure fair treatment and safety in the workplace, with the Guam Department of Labor and OSHA as primary enforcement agencies.

Agreements in Guam

Read more

In Guam, employment relationships are governed by either Employment Contracts or Implied Contracts. Employment contracts are formal, written agreements that can be fixed-term or specifically for foreign workers, and include details like visa sponsorship. Guam follows an "at-will" employment doctrine, allowing termination by either party at any time unless a written contract states otherwise.

Implied contracts, though unwritten, are formed based on employer actions and employee expectations, often derived from company policies or verbal agreements. These contracts can enforce standards on workweek, overtime, and safe working conditions.

Key elements of an employment agreement in Guam include:

  • Basic Employment Information: Identifying parties, job descriptions, and work locations.
  • Compensation and Benefits: Details on salary, payment schedules, and benefits like health insurance and paid time off.
  • Term and Termination: Specifies if employment is fixed-term or at-will, including termination clauses and notice periods.
  • Confidentiality and Intellectual Property: Protects employer's confidential information and addresses IP rights.
  • Additional Considerations: Covers dispute resolution and applicable laws.

Probationary periods, typically 90 days, allow both employer and employee to assess suitability. These periods are not mandated by specific Guam laws but are recognized in government employment regulations.

Confidentiality and non-compete clauses are common in Guam employment agreements to protect business interests. Confidentiality clauses prevent disclosure of sensitive information, while non-compete clauses restrict post-employment competition, subject to reasonable limitations on scope, duration, and geographic area. These clauses must be reasonable and provide some compensation to the employee to be enforceable.

Remote Work in Guam

Read more

In Guam, there is no specific law solely addressing remote work, but existing laws like The Guam Employment Practices Act and federal regulations such as the Fair Labor Standards Act provide a legal framework for remote work arrangements. Employers are advised to consult legal counsel to ensure compliance with these regulations.

For effective remote work, employers should focus on:

  • Technological Infrastructure: This includes reliable internet connectivity, secure remote access through VPNs, and cloud-based communication tools. Considerations for a stable power supply and technology affordability are also crucial, with potential solutions like equipment leasing or cost-sharing programs.

  • Employer Responsibilities: These include conducting risk assessments, establishing clear remote work policies, implementing data security measures, maintaining communication, and ensuring fair compensation and benefits for remote workers.

  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Various forms include:

    • Part-Time Work: Defined hours and compensation, with rights under The Guam Employment Practices Act.
    • Flexitime: Flexible scheduling within set core hours, with employer-defined policies.
    • Job Sharing: Multiple individuals sharing one full-time position, with defined hours and responsibilities, regulated by employer policies.
  • Equipment and Expense Reimbursements: While not legally required, some employers may provide necessary equipment and offer reimbursements for expenses as part of flexible work agreements.

  • Data Protection and Privacy: Employers must ensure lawful data processing, minimal data collection, and robust security measures like encryption and multi-factor authentication. Employees have rights to access and correct their personal data, with additional rights under specific federal laws like HIPAA.

  • Best Practices for Data Security: Both employers and employees should minimize data sharing, use secure communication channels, be vigilant against phishing, perform regular backups, and report any suspicious activities to protect sensitive information in a remote work setting.

Working Hours in Guam

Read more

Guam Work Hours and Overtime Regulations Overview:

  • Standard Work Hours: Governed by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which does not limit daily or weekly work hours but mandates overtime pay for non-exempt employees working over 40 hours per week.
  • Overtime Eligibility: Non-exempt employees receive overtime pay at one and one-half times their regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Exempt employees, such as those in executive, administrative, and professional roles, do not qualify for overtime.
  • Meal Breaks: Employees are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal break for workdays exceeding five hours, with the possibility of waiving this if the workday is under six hours.
  • Rest Breaks: No mandated rest breaks for adult employees in the private sector, though employers can establish their own policies.
  • Night Differential Pay: Government employees working night shifts receive a 10% differential pay for hours worked between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • Weekend Work: No specific FLSA regulations for weekend work; scheduling is at the employer's discretion.

Additional Considerations:

  • Employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements may influence break and work hour provisions.
  • The Guam Department of Labor enforces child labor laws with stricter break requirements for minors.

Salary in Guam

Read more

Understanding competitive salaries in Guam is essential for fair compensation and attracting talent, given its high cost of living and average salaries lower than the U.S. mainland. Resources like Salary Expert and ERI provide valuable salary data, while industry associations and job boards offer additional insights. The Guam Minimum Wage Act sets the minimum wage at $9.25 per hour as of September 1, 2021, with some exceptions under specific circumstances. Employers in Guam can also offer various bonuses and allowances, such as merit-based bonuses, sign-on bonuses, and housing allowances, which are not mandated by law but vary by employer and industry. Payroll practices in Guam allow for different pay periods and methods, with employers required to provide written notice of these to employees. Compliance with the minimum wage and overtime pay is governed by both local and federal laws, ensuring employees are compensated fairly for their work.

Termination in Guam

Read more

In Guam, employment can generally be terminated without notice by either the employer or the employee, unless specified otherwise in an employment contract. The Guam Code Annotated (GCA) Title 18, Chapter 55, addresses various aspects of employment termination, including misconduct and employer obligations. While there is no legal requirement for severance pay, it may be mandated by employment contracts, company policies, or collective bargaining agreements. Proposed legislation, the Guam Severance Pay Act, could change severance pay entitlements if passed. Employers are advised to document the termination process thoroughly and adhere to local laws regarding final paychecks. Terminations for cause do not require notice, and wrongful termination claims can be pursued if the termination violates specific legal protections.

Freelancing in Guam

Read more

In Guam, the classification of workers as either employees or independent contractors is crucial due to its implications on rights, benefits, and obligations. The primary method used to determine this classification is the control test, which assesses the employer's control over the worker. Employees are generally more controlled and integrated into the business, whereas independent contractors maintain autonomy, focusing on delivering results rather than adhering to specific processes.

Additional factors influencing classification include economic dependence, investment by the worker, and their opportunity for profit or loss. Misclassification can lead to significant legal and financial consequences for both parties.

For independent contractors, understanding contract structures and negotiation practices is essential. Common contract types include fixed-price, time-based, and performance-based, each with its own benefits and risks. Effective negotiation should cover deliverables, fees, payment terms, and termination clauses.

Key industries in Guam for freelancers include construction, IT, tourism, and professional services. Intellectual property rights are also critical, with default ownership typically resting with the creator, though specific contractual agreements can alter this.

Freelancers must manage their own taxes, including income tax and self-employment tax, and are advised to consider various insurance options due to limited public health insurance availability. Proper registration with the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation is required for those earning above a certain threshold.

Health & Safety in Guam

Read more
  • Overview: The Guam Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1991 is the primary legislation in Guam for workplace health and safety, aligning largely with U.S. federal OSHA standards.
  • Employer Responsibilities: Employers are required to maintain a hazard-free workplace, identify and mitigate risks, provide personal protective equipment (PPE), and have emergency plans ready.
  • Specific Hazards: Regulations are in place for construction and other industries to manage risks such as falls, electrocutions, and hazardous chemicals.
  • Employee Rights: Workers are entitled to training, can refuse unsafe work, and must follow safety procedures.
  • Enforcement and Inspections: The Guam Department of Labor, through its Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), enforces safety laws, with inspections categorized into routine, complaint-based, accident investigations, and follow-ups.
  • Inspection Process: Involves an opening conference, a walkthrough, review of documents, and a closing conference discussing findings and corrective actions.
  • Reporting and Compensation: Workplace accidents must be reported, and employees injured on the job are eligible for workers' compensation benefits, which cover medical expenses and lost wages.

Dispute Resolution in Guam

Read more

In Guam, employment disputes are handled by the Superior Court of Guam, with arbitration being a preferred method for resolving such issues, guided by the Guam Labor Relations Act. Arbitration, often stipulated in collective bargaining or individual employment contracts, is voluntary, with decisions being final and binding. Cases typically arbitrated include contract disputes, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and wage issues. Regulatory agencies like the Guam Department of Labor and others enforce compliance through audits and inspections, which vary in frequency based on industry risk, complaints, and resource availability. Non-compliance can lead to significant penalties, corrective measures, or even license revocation.

Compliance audits are essential for public interest, fair competition, and fiscal responsibility, ensuring adherence to labor, safety, and environmental standards. Whistleblowers in Guam are protected under laws like the Public Employees Protection Act and the Guam False Claims and Whistleblower Act, safeguarding them from retaliation and entitling them to potential remedies like reinstatement or damages.

Guam's labor laws reflect international standards despite not being a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO). These laws cover fundamental labor rights similar to ILO Conventions, including anti-discrimination measures and union rights. The local Department of Labor, alongside federal agencies, ensures the application of these laws. While Guam's labor regulations align with many international norms, areas like paid leave could be improved, and further adoption of ILO Conventions might enhance worker protections.

Cultural Considerations in Guam

Read more

In Guam, workplace communication is influenced by both American and Chamorro cultural elements. Key aspects include:

  • Directness with Respect: Communication tends to be indirect to maintain respect and harmony, often using softened phrases to convey messages.
  • Balancing Formality: Despite an informal atmosphere aimed at fostering community, respect and proper titles are crucial when addressing superiors.
  • Non-Verbal Communication: Non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body language are significant, with meanings that can differ from Western interpretations.
  • Cultural Studies & Business Practices: Relationship building, or "inafá'måta," is essential, and decision-making typically involves multiple stakeholders reflecting the communal culture.
  • Approaches to Negotiation: Negotiations focus on long-term relationships and collaborative problem-solving, with an emphasis on mutual respect and understanding.
  • Negotiation Strategies: Preparation and understanding of market and personal backgrounds are vital. Negotiations may be lengthy and require patience.
  • Cultural Norms: Indirect communication is preferred to avoid confrontation, and decisions often involve consulting with various stakeholders.
  • Characteristics of Hierarchical Structures: Guam features flatter hierarchies than the US mainland, fostering faster decision-making and a collaborative environment, though respect for authority remains important.
  • Impact on Business Functions: The blend of collaboration and hierarchical respect influences team dynamics and leadership styles, which may be both directive and participative.
  • Cultural & Management Theory Insights: Hofstede’s framework suggests moderate power distance and lower uncertainty avoidance in Guam, indicating a balance of respect for authority and flexibility in decision-making.
  • Statutory Holidays and Regional Observances: Guam observes most US federal holidays and has specific regional celebrations like Guam Liberation Day and Santa Marian Kamalen Feast Day, impacting business operations.

Understanding these cultural nuances is crucial for effective communication and successful business dealings in Guam.

Rivermate | A 3d rendering of earth

Hire your employees globally with confidence

We're here to help you on your global hiring journey.