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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Labor Dept: Minimum wage hike goes into effect regardless of lawsuit

Labor and Human Resources Secretary Gabriel Maldonado-González (Gov. Pierluisi/Facebook)

By The Star Staff

Labor and Human Resources Secretary Gabriel Maldonado-González said Monday that until a court says otherwise, starting that same day the minimum wage was to go up to $10.50 an hour.

The labor chief’s remarks were made after six business groups filed a writ of mandamus in the Court of First Instance of San Juan last week to stop the minimum wage hike from going into effect.

“Regardless of positions to the contrary, and until a court orders otherwise, the minimum wage in Puerto Rico as of July 1, 2024 is $10.50 per hour, for all non-exempt employers and employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), except for workers in the agricultural industry and the government, [and] except public corporations operating as a private business,” Maldonado-González said.

Failure to comply with the applicable state minimum wage could be subject to claims, fines and penalties as provided by law.

Sen. Thomas Rivera Schatz also insisted that there is no reason why the increase in the minimum wage should not be allowed to go into effect. He said all economic indicators point toward a growth in the economy.

“We already sponsor the salary increase for public service; for private service, several incentives were approved with the consent of legislators from many parties,” Rivera Schatz said. “So, that is the law and you have to abide by it and I understand that there is the capacity. In fact, economic indicators show that Puerto Rico is growing economically, which has not happened in a long time.”

“In terms of employment, unemployment is at its lowest and the labor participation rate is at its highest,” the former Senate president added. “So, the economy is showing signs of recovery and growth. Therefore, there is no reason why the increases should not be sponsored or granted.”

The Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Trade Association, the Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing, Industry and Distribution Chamber, the Restaurant Association and the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association filed the suit against the government.

As a result of Act 47 of Sept. 21, 2021, the increase to the local minimum wage, from $9.50 to $10.50 per hour, was to take effect July 1 after the Minimum Wage Evaluation Commission, the working group created as a result of the statute, approved the increase.

The business groups, however, argued that the hike is illegal because only three members voted in favor of the hike when the law says all members have to vote for it.

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Jul 03

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