CNMI govt to let go of half its staff

5:01 pm on 10 April 2020

With its economy in a shambles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern Marianas government is planning to cut its staff by half.

CNMI Governor Ralp DLG Torres.

CNMI Governor Ralp DLG Torres. Photo: Office of the Governor of CNMI

With the estimated 48 percent reduction in the fiscal year 2020 government appropriations, government is letting go of excepted service employees and furloughing Civil Service employees for a year.

Governor Ralph Torres advised the Office of Personnel Management to implement "extreme measures to ensure that the Executive Branch" has enough funds to pay its employees.

Mr Torres has already signed an agreement to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The Department of Labor is working with the US Labor Department on the guidelines to identify government staff who would be eligible and the benefits they will receive while on furlough or after their contracts are terminated.

PUA is one of the programs established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a $US2-trillion coronavirus emergency stimulus package that President Trump signed into law late last month.

It expands states and territories' ability to provide unemployment insurance to many workers affected by Covid-19, including people who aren't ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits.

CNMI public school teachers won't get paid today

Over 800 locally funded teachers and other personnel of the Public School System will experience a payless Friday today.

This, after the system was unable to make payroll payments due to the unavailability of funds prompted by the current economic and financial crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On top of missing a payroll, the System is also still unable to pay the 30 percent it owes in salaries from the last payroll.

It also said it may have no choice but to furlough staff due to its dwindling funds.