In 2021, The U.S. Treasury announced additional COVID-19 relief assistance in the form of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFRF). As a result, the CNMI Government received $481 million dollars for COVID-19 economic relief assistance to State, Local, and Tribal Governments.
Governor Ralph DLG Torres, with the assistance of the Secretary of Finance, David DLG Atalig, created the CNMI Spending Plan and allocated funds into four sections. Section 602(A) – to assist households, small businesses, nonprofits or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality. Section 602(B) – provide premium pay to frontliners in the CNMI Government and Priority Healthcare in the Private Sector. Section 602(C) – to reinstate furloughed employees, continuity of government services, and resume operations and activities of the Judicial and Legislative Branches. Lastly Section 602(D) – to make investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
In March of 2022, The Department of Finance, Office of the Secretary launched its Premium Pay Program for private sector frontliners that provide priority healthcare services, as these organizations have been at the frontlines alongside our Covid Task Force and Law Enforcement from the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This specific Premium Pay Program was created due to the number of patients, frequencies of procedures, emergencies, and preventions all related to COVID-19.
It has come to our attention that the ARPA SLFRF Non-Governmental Healthcare Premium Pay forms created specifically for this program have been circulating through Social Media outlets such as Facebook and WhatsApp causing turmoil within our community by advertising that “Premium Pay is being offered to everyone so long as they submit this form.” Please understand that this is not true, and we would like to address this issue as we have been receiving an overwhelming amount of phone calls and emails.
The ARPA SLFRF Non-governmental Healthcare Premium Pay is strictly for employees who have been given the form directly from the Office of the Secretary (i.e. Priority Healthcare, Private Medical Clinics, Pharmacies and Renal Care Facilities).
Additionally, we would like to inform the public that September 30, 2022, will be the last day to submit all requests for Premium Pay for Government Frontliners and Non-Governmental Healthcare Private sector employees, as well as submissions of Nonprofit assistance requests.