Governor asks Legislature to take a 2nd look at Labor Reform
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia asked the island House of Representatives and Senate on Tuesday to request the return of the Labor Reform bill to integrate amendments, correct errors it contains and finally achieve justice for private sector employees.
A letter sent by interim governor Omar Marrero Díaz on behalf of the governor, who is in Washington, D.C., establishes that with the due amendments, the aim is to ensure that the bill is free of drafting errors, processing errors, tacit derogations and language harmful for Puerto Rican workers.
Pierliuisi said that “despite all these efforts, the bill was not revised, in such a way that it contains language that is detrimental to the rights of workers.”
“What seems, in principle, something praiseworthy and positive, ironically has become a defective piece of legislation due to drafting errors and for including conflictive sections,” he said.
Reference is made in the letter to the previous communications that the governor sent to the Legislative Assembly to seek “consensus and be able to endorse House Bill 3,” having made his entire work team available for that purpose.
As approved, House Bill 3 modifies the way in which overtime is paid in cases where the employer and the employee reach an agreement to work a 40-hour weekly shift with 10-hour shifts per day. Likewise, it creates a special overtime compensation for students, paying double time for the hours worked during a rest day.
“Under these circumstances, the employee who does not study and works on his day off is paid at the rate of time and a half per hour worked, while the one who studies is paid at the rate of double time,” the governor said in the letter. “This type of provision creates an unreasonable classification among the same workers and imposes an additional economic burden on the company for conditions unrelated to its operations. Similarly, it discourages the hiring of our young people, most of whom would be part of this new classification.”