Some restaurants on Saipan in the Northern Marianas are allegedly paying their workers wages as low as 4 US dollars 25 an hour, four months after the federal minimum wage increased to five dollars and 5 cents an hour.
Restaurant staff interviewed by the Saipan Tribune say they agreed to salaries lower than the current minimum wage because of the lack of jobs in the CNMI.
Some also have hesitated to ask their employers for an adjustment for fear of losing the job.
A Chinese-Korean interpreter told the paper that, based on her experience, most Chinese-Korean restaurants don't pay their employees the federal minimum wage.
According to U.S. labour laws businesses turning over less than half a million dollars a year, which have less than two full-time staff, and which are not engaged in inter-state commerce, don't have to meet the federal minimum wage limits.