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  • The San Juan Daily Star

House votes to repeal labor reform enacted in 2017


Rep. Domingo Torres García

By The Star Staff


The island Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3 earlier this week, which would repeal the labor reform passed by the previous governing New Progressive Party (NPP) administration that restricted labor rights.


“With the nefarious misnamed Labor Transformation and Flexibility Law, Act 4 of 2017, the past NPP administration adopted a punitive public policy as the main strategy to promote job creation in the private sector,” said Popular Democratic Party Rep. Domingo Torres García. “This focused on the undermining of the rights of the working class of our country. With the implausible subterfuge of turning Puerto Rico into a supposedly more attractive jurisdiction, it promoted the reduction of labor rights, protections, and fringe benefits for our workers.”


The lawmaker added that contrary to what the past administration did, HB 3, which the House passed on Monday afternoon, was evaluated in a broad process of analysis in which more than 25 organizations, agencies and instrumentalities participated, representing both the working class and the employer sector. The measure was drafted in consensus with trade union movements, representatives of the private sector, senators and representatives.


“I opted for the route of working on a real and consensus bill to please not merely the workers, but to provide them with true justice and employment,” Torres García said.


Once the bill becomes law, the caps on discrimination claims are to be eliminated, vacation time is to be increased to 1.25 days per month for full-time employees, and a new benefit of half a day per month in accrued vacation time and one day for sickness leave is to be created for part-time employees.


The bill also reduces the number of hours to qualify for a Christmas bonus to 700 hours and, for small-to-midsize enterprises (SMEs), to 900 hours; the prescriptive period is increased to three years. The presumption that a dismissal is unfair is reversed in favor of the employee while the probationary period for new workers is reduced to three months with the possibility of extending an additional three months with prior notification.


The legislation also notes that overtime in excess of 10 hours will be paid double time in flexitime agreements and without flexitime agreement at time and a half, among other benefits.


“I urge the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, to sign the measure and to side with the working class,” Torres García said. “… This House of Representatives has sought to do justice. We recognize that [workers] need better employment conditions and a better quality of life.”

The bill must now go to the Senate for approval.

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