There is a minimum wage in the private sector of WST1.40 per hour, which has been readjusted to the cost of living over the last 20 years. This rate makes living in town problematic, although many households will have some people working for wages as well as others undertaking subsistence production. The minimum wage is about 10 percent of the salary that a new senior manager might get in the private sector.
Men make up an estimated 78 percent of the formal workforce. In almost all sectors they predominate. In public service men comprise only 47 percent of the full-time salaried workers but two-thirds of the temporary government workers. The unemployment rate of 13 percent is quite high, but it would be even higher if all those in the rural sector who wanted paid employment were counted. There is no unemployment benefit. Unionization is relatively strong with the Teacher's Association being formed in the 1950s and the Western Samoa Public Service Association starting in 1969. In the private sector, unions have been a recent development with the formation of the Western Samoa National Union of Workers in 1994.