New law bolsters incentivized retirement for non-essential public workers
By The Star Staff
The process of partially implementing the Incentivized Retirement Plan established in Act 80 of 2020 is moving forward as Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia signed Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 171 on Thursday.
The resolution orders the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Retirement Systems Administration (RSA) to take the needed actions so non-essential employees in the agencies, municipalities and public corporations whose positions are being eliminated can leave their jobs knowing their retirement benefits will remain intact.
However, the governor clarified that due to ambiguities in the Senate resolution related to the terms granted to the executive branch, he will introduce a bill so that in a period of 60 calendar days both entities take all the necessary measures, and require the agencies, municipalities and eligible public corporations to take the corresponding actions to implement the Incentivized Retirement Program regarding non-essential employees identified in each entity.
“Consistent with the public policy of my administration to defend the rights of our workers and retirees, today I have given my signature to Senate Joint Resolution 171, a bipartisan and social justice measure. With the signing of this bill, we recognize the work that hundreds of public servants have provided to the government for years,” the governor said, clarifying that the measure does not undermine the acquired rights of essential employees who work in the public service and also want to qualify for an incentivized retirement.
“It should be noted that this law seeks to address some, if not all, of the indications of the Financial Oversight and Management Board regarding Act 80,” the governor said. “Now, I recognize that the validity of Law 80 is currently before [federal Title III bankruptcy] Judge Laura Taylor Swain and that the implementation of this law will depend on the resolution of the matter before the federal courts.”
During the public hearing process, SJR 171 was endorsed by the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF), as well as by the Office of Labor Administration and Human Resources (OATRH), the OMB, the Mayors Association and the Mayors Federation.
The governor also signed Senate Bill 170 into law to include in the Law for the Organization and Development of Family Agricultural Markets in Puerto Rico the municipalities where those markets are held. The law’s purpose is to expressly include the respective municipalities in which family agricultural markets are held as part of the structures and instruments in law to strengthen and expand the system.
Currently, Act 63-2015 expressly empowers the secretary of Agriculture, in collaboration with other public agencies, to organize and develop Family Agricultural Markets. What is sought with the signing of the new law is that the municipalities have greater participation in the organization of the events, which help to meet the needs of their citizens.
Also, the governor gave way to a resolution that orders the Committee for the Evaluation and Disposition of Real Estate Assets, to evaluate, according to the legal provisions, the transfer of Felipa Sánchez Rosado School from the municipality of Naranjito to the non-profit organization called Naranjito Adolescent Program Inc., (PANI).
The enactment of the measures took place prior to the governor leaving for the state of New York to participate in Friday’s 31st public meeting of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico.