17 Feb 2012

No job losses but shorter hours coming for American Samoa hospital staff

6:03 pm on 17 February 2012

Staff at American Samoa's LBJ Hospital are to have their hours of work cut back in a couple of months' time.

The Governor, Togiola Tulafono, has announced that higher hospital fees have been scrapped, along with the decision last week by hospital management to start laying off staff.

The hospital management made the moves after struggling for months with a funding shortage.

Togiola has also authorised a loan of three million US dollars from the Workmen's Compensation Account, which will be repaid with a two-percent hike in income tax for all wage earners in the territory.

That loan is expected to last until April.

Our correspondent Monica Miller says while jobs are not going, staff will be required to work a shorter week.

"After the initial funding has been used up - this three million dollars - he says there would be reduction in hours for everyone across the board. There would be also be perhaps some hours cut in clinics, but the other thing that he brought is that he is still looking at the management level employees, and the salaries in there."