Hikes in the local minimum wage have put a strain on scores of businesses in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, yet labour activists report some are avoiding the recent increases by paying workers less than the law requires.
At least three restaurants, a major construction company and a private security company on Saipan are reported to be paying workers less than the current minimum wage.
The minimum wage rose to $3.55 cents last year and again to $4.05 in May.
Coupled with spikes in utility rates, the wage jumps have prompted a host of businesses to increase prices or cut expenses.
CNMI's Director of employment services says the Department of Labour is keeping a close eye on businesses' labour practices