CROSS Act has been extended under the FY 2022 Unified Budget Act and is expected to continue until the 3rd quarter of next year, according to Minister of Finance Kaleb Udui Jr.
“Our initial estimates were to continue the program until December but it is important to continue beyond December which is why we may make changes to try and stretch the money we have left for a longer period,” stated Minister Udui on the extension of the CROSS Act.
One of the programs under the CROSS Act was the employment placement program where Palauans who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic are given temporary employment in the government at a minimum wage rate to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic.
This program has continued under the two CROSS Act extensions. According to Minister Udui, as of September, the government had about a $5 million balance remaining from the CROSS Act, which he said was much higher than he expected. He added that with this amount, the program can continue until March next year and with changes that he plans to implement, this fund can be stretched to the 3rd quarter of FY 2022 (June 2022).
People who were working in government offices under this CROSS Act program have been told to continue working.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism & Development (HRCTD) is working to place individuals seeking permanent jobs. They have designated an office at the CIVIC Center, and staff to help employees and employers connect. In addition to providing a list of people seeking jobs, they are also helping them create resumes to help prospective employers find employees.
CROSS Act, a pandemic relief law that was passed in 2020 to provide relief to Palau private sector, was again extended in this last FY 2022 Unified Budget Act. The law has been extended twice, once under FY 2021 Budget and now under FY 2022. The re-employment or employment assistance continues to be extended and funded under the Act at this time.