Governor hikes minimum wage of construction workers on federally funded projects
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia established on Sunday through Executive Order (EO) 2022-014 an increase in the minimum wage for skilled workers to $15 an hour, and for non-skilled employees to $11 an hour in reconstruction or recovery projects in Puerto Rico who are paid, totally or partially, with federal funds.
According to the governor, the EO follows the public policy of the administration of President Joe Biden that mandated a minimum wage of $15 an hour for employees of federal government contractors.
“The public policy of my administration is to increase efficiency and productivity in reconstruction work,” the governor said in a written statement. “This Executive Order strikes a balance between fair pay and reasonable conditions for construction workers and, at the same time, that reconstruction works are not affected or delayed. It is important that we provide mechanisms to improve the conditions of our workers and ensure that with the development of work the local economy improves, so this Order will help increase employment in this sector that is so necessary to advance the reconstruction of Puerto Rico.”
The EO will apply to workers who work on government construction projects paid for with federal funds for the reconstruction and recovery of the island after the hurricanes of 2017 and the earthquakes of 2020.
The parameters for the implementation of agreements are established in project labor agreements, starting with a pilot program whose execution will be evaluated in order to determine the permanence or not of this type of agreement in reconstruction projects financed totally or partially with federal funds.
The governor said it is important to mention that the EO does not apply to municipal projects or non-governmental entities. The labor agreement will be required to bid in an auction related to a pilot project. In addition, it will apply to all work covered under the awarded auction and does not include any other work awarded under previous or subsequent bids. It also does not include contracts awarded and executed for cleanup or debris removal work.
This EO is of prospective application; therefore, the contracts already signed and the processes for contracting begun or already published, as well as their amendments or extensions, will not be subject to its provisions.