On June 1, 2018, the minimum wage in the U.S. Virgin Islands increased to $10.50 per hour for all employees with the exception of tourist service and restaurant employees. This state rate set by the Virgin Islands is higher than the $7.25 minimum wage set by federal statute. Virgin Islanders must be paid at least $10.50 an hour. Overtime will be time-and-one-half of $10.50 an hour or the hourly rate.
The Virgin Island state Labor code on minimum wage for Virgin Islanders are below:
“(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, every employer shall pay to each of his employees including employees who are less than 18 years of age or full-time high school students at a rate not less than $8.35 per hour beginning 90 days immediately following the effective date of this subsection, not less than $9.50per hour beginning June 1, 2017, not less than $10.50 an hour during the year beginning June 1, 2018, and beginning June 1, 2019, not less than the minimum wage determined in accordance with subsection (b) of this section; but tourist service and restaurant employees who are tipped employees, must be paid a minimum wage set in this subsection or in accordance with subsection (b) at a rate not less than 40 percent of the minimum wage. After 2020, the Virgin Islands Wage Board may, based on verifiable economic data, adjust the minimum wage for tourist service and restaurant employees who are tipped employees to a rate not greater than 45 percent of the minimum wage or less than the federal minimum wage for tipped employees.” Title 24, Chapter 1 §4(a) of the V.I. Code
Hurricane recovery in the U.S. Virgin Islands
We have been investigating wage and hour violations by employers in St. Croix and St. Thomas. Many employers have flocked to the Virgin Islands as part of the hurricane recovery effort following Hurricane Maria and Irma. Many employers and contractors are not familiar with the Virgin Island’s higher minimum wage requirements. Since many employers are receiving federal funds and FEMA funds, they are required to comply with federal wage and hour laws. Many recovery work and construction projects are part of federally funded recovery. Many employers fail to pay employees for all the hours they have worked. Some employers fail to pay workers minimum wage. Employers often fail to pay employees overtime after misclassifying them as exempted or independent contractors. Federal contractors fail to pay required wages and fringe benefits under federal service and construction contracts.