The San Juan Daily Star
Official: Only about 11,000 gov’t employees to receive salary adjustments
Human Resources Administration and Transformation Office Director Zahira Maldonado Molina
By THE STAR STAFF
Human Resources Administration and Transformation Office (OATRH) Director Zahira Maldonado Molina confirmed Monday that only 11,000 public employees, out of a total of 22,000, will receive salary adjustments under the new Compensation and Classification Plan for Government Agencies.
The official made her remarks at a Senate Government Committee hearing chaired by Sen. Ramón Ruíz Nieves. The adjustment would be retroactive.
“At one point there was talk that the Compensation and Classification Plan would serve about 90,000 public employees. However, what we have seen today, we are talking about approximately 22,000 public employees, of which about 11,000 will be getting it,” Ruíz Nieves said. “There was talk of Law 8 of 2017, which excludes the Department of Education and an essential part of the Department of Public Safety.”
Maldonado told the committee that “regarding the aforementioned reform, it should be noted that it was initiated through a pilot project put into effect in particular areas selected by the Office of Management and Budget, and the Treasury Department.”
“This was a prelude to its beginning in the rest of the public agencies included under the Human Resources Administration System, projected for January 2023,” she said.
Maldonado said the lack of uniformity and consistency between the systems of the entities concerned has led to the need to carry out a meticulous exercise of validation of employee information.
“Thus, the date of its implementation is subject to the validation exercise as mentioned earlier, which is about to conclude,” she said. “However, it is imperative to clarify that it will be retroactive to January 1, 2023.”
Ruiz Nieves asked how many employees are under the OATRH’s responsibility in the plan. She mentioned that in the current phase there are around 22,000 public employees, and 52 percent of that total are those who will receive a salary adjustment, which would be about 11,000. Ruíz Nieves also asked what would happen to the rest of the public employees, to which Maldonado replied that under Law 8, the central government’s compensation plans will be standardized.
“We are focusing on career service,” she said. “Soon the employees will receive a letter with the details, and they can appeal the decision if they understand it.”
Maldonado said the Education Department, where there are some 45,000 employees, is exempt according to its charter law. Also exempted are employees of the State Elections Commission, Office of the Comptroller, Government Ethics Office, legislative branch, judicial branch, public corporations, University of Puerto Rico, the Office of the Governor, municipalities, and some Department of Public Safety employees, among others.
“In the current fiscal plan, $99 million is contemplated for salary adjustments and $33 million for new employee appointments, plus operating expenses, which adds up to a total of $132 million per year,” Maldonado said. “The availability of these items is subject to compliance with the goals outlined for the government by the Financial Oversight and Management Board, which are outlined in the aforementioned plan.”