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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Oversight board rejects hikes in salary, bonuses for ASEM



Medical Services Administration Director Jorge Matta (X.com)

By The Star Staff


The Financial Oversight and Management Board on Wednesday rejected granting salary hikes to some 975 workers from the Medical Services Administration (ASEM by its Spanish acronym) as proposed in the entity’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA).


In a letter addressed to ASEM Director Jorge Matta on Wednesday, the oversight board rejected the proposal put forward by the General Workers Union (UGT by its Spanish initials) to offer salary and Christmas bonus increases as part of the CBA.


The UGT proposed increases in the salaries of the 975 employees by some $35,000 a year, including the increased Christmas bonus. Such increases are for employees with average salaries of approximately $32,000.


“The proposed increases would more than double the current salaries of the union employees of ASEM, an entity financed by billing medical centers and their patients. The increase proposed by UGT would be in addition to already significant recent salary increases, effective July 1, 2023, for the vast majority of ASEM employees following the successful implementation of the Civil Service Reform (CSR),” the oversight board said.


As part of the CSR, 73% of ASEM employees received an average annual salary increase of $7,373.25. The UGT’s proposal to offer substantial salary and bonus increases in addition to the already implemented increases does not align with the CSR principles and methodologies and is inconsistent with the Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico certified by the oversight board, the board said.


Specifically, the letter said the oversight board’s authorization was sought to offer the 975 employees under the UGT the following salary increases:


• A monthly salary increase of $2,000, effective July 1, 2023;

• A monthly salary increase of $300, effective Jan. 1, 2025;

• A monthly salary increase of $300, effective Jan. 1, 2026; and

• A $1,5000 signing bonus to be paid no later than Dec. 31, 2023.


According to the letter, the total estimated impact of the proposed increases is $101 million for the period from July 1, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2026.


On Oct. 13, 2023, the oversight board approved ASEM’s proposed compensation plan to implement the new market-based salary structure, which increases the salaries of job classes in ASEM to better align with comparable jobs in the local labor market. The total cost of implementation of ASEM’s new compensation plan is $11 million, impacting 73% of ASEM’s active employees and 93% of budgeted vacant positions.


“UGT’s proposal to include bonus and salary increases in its negotiation proposal does not align with the Central Government’s Uniform Classification and Remuneration Plan that is part of the principles and methodologies of the CSR,” the oversight board’s letter notes.

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