12 Oct 2010

CNMI government employees return to work today

2:31 pm on 12 October 2010

Government employees in the Northern Marianas returned to work today following last week's partial government shutdown over the territory's budget impasse.

After weeks of wrangling, the budget bill was passed late on Friday and signed into law by the territory's governor Benigno Fitial at the weekend.

He declared yesterday a paid holiday to celebrate Commonwealth Cultural Day, saying it was an attempt to ease the financial hardship government employees and their families have been experiencing.

The new law requires government employees to take a 16-hour work cut per pay period and 13 unpaid holidays in order to live within this year's 132 million US dollar spending package.

About 1,400 workers considered non-essential have been off work since the beginning of October after weeks of legislative deadlock.