The San Juan Daily Star
Pay hikes under Classification & Compensation Plan to take effect Feb. 28
By THE STAR STAFF
The salary increases associated with the central government’s Classification and Compensation Plan will go into effect on Feb. 28, the director of the Office of Administration and Transformation of Human Resources (OATRH by its Spanish initials), Zahira Maldonado, said Wednesday at a public hearing in the House of Representatives.
The official said a total of 22,000 career employees will be reclassified, of which 52% will receive a salary adjustment retroactive to Jan. 1. This percentage represents some 12,000 public workers, Maldonado noted.
She spoke at a House Labor Affairs Committee hearing along with the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Juan Carlos Blanco, after being summoned by Committee Chairman Domingo Torres García to report on the delays in the implementation of the salary adjustments.
“We are working with the career service staff. We understand that we must give it priority,” Maldonado said. “It is the personnel that enter the public service based on the principle of merit through their competencies, requesting a position and being evaluated, and there is a greater restriction when recruiting in terms of salary allocation.”
Both Maldonado and Blanco assured that they do not foresee any inconvenience that would delay the implementation of the salary increases again. Although the Classification and Compensation Plan went into effect on Jan. 1, the salary adjustments have not been implemented due to problems with the management of administrative work data and the fragmentation of information in government agencies.
The current certified fiscal plan contemplates $99 million from the General Fund for salary adjustments and $33 million for new appointments of employees, according to the OMB. In addition, in the certified budget for the current fiscal year there is an item of $59 million for the implementation of the Public Service Reform, which is advanced simultaneously with the Classification Plan.
“Here, what was done was a job to ensure that every Puerto Rican government employee has a competitive salary based on the existing labor market,” Blanco said. “Yes, we can say that, once we complete this exercise, 100 percent of the employees who go through this process will have a competitive salary.”