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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PDP task force to analyze gov’t classification & remuneration plan

Popular Democratic Party President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González

By The Star Staff

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Jesús Manuel Ortiz González has signed Order 2023-OP-003, creating a task force to analyze the implementation of the Government Classification and Remuneration Plan (PCR by its Spanish initials), arguing that it threatens to hinder the acquired rights of thousands of government workers.

The order also seeks to identify actions to remedy the many problems that the PDP says the PCR has caused in government agencies.

“In recent months, we have received countless complaints about problems and injustices caused by the government’s PCR,” Ortiz González said over the weekend. “We cannot allow the rights of our public servants to be undermined. In the PDP, we will create this Public Service Pro-Rights Committee to protect them and guarantee that the rights of thousands of parents who give their best every day for the benefit of our country are respected.”

On April 18, 2022, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia announced the implementation of the “Public Service Administrative Reform” pilot program, which would initially affect the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget (OGP). The reform aims to establish new job classifications and adjustments in salary compensation.

According to the OGP, the compensation plan is part of the civil service reform promoted by the Financial Oversight and Management Board.

However, there have been reports that seniority, employee preparation, and minimum job requirements have yet to be respected in the implementation process, harming thousands of public employees without a clear and objective opportunity to challenge the processes. The situation was denounced by the PDP president, PDP Reps. Héctor Ferrer Santiago and Domingo Torres García and the president of the Organization of Popular Public Servants, Juan Vega Quiñones.

In its government program, the PDP promised to “return pride to public service,” empowering, compensating and adequately training public servants.

The party said it reaffirms its historic commitment to defending the rights of the working class, in line with the slogan “Bread, Land, Freedom,” which remains relevant during economic difficulties, particularly when the island faces an executive branch government whose policies the PDP considers to be abusive.

While the oversight board and the island government had agreed to pay incumbent central government employees at market-competitive rates, after conducting the market-based benchmarking analysis, placing all employees in the new salary structure based on their new job classification, and calculating the budgetary impact, it was found that adjusting employees’ current salaries to the competitive range (90% of salary scale midpoint) and employees in “hot jobs” to 110% of salary scale midpoint, has a cost of some $144.3 million, according to a report.

“The $144.3 million budgeted therefore allows for incumbent employees to be brought to the minimum of the new salary scales (not 90% of midpoint), and “hot jobs” to the midpoint of the new scales (not 110% of midpoint),” the report notes.

Further work is required for scaling classification and salary remuneration (CSR) and establishing the technological, organizational, and workforce infrastructure that is necessary for the dissemination and expansion of CSR throughout government, the report notes.

An agreement was reached to apply salary adjustments in two phases. The oversight board approved the release of the $144.3 million for the first phase of salary adjustments, which went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year, impacting 53% of the more than 22,000 uniform remuneration plan employees and bringing the current salary of incumbent employees to the minimum of their respective new salary scales and employees with “hot jobs” to the midpoint of the scales.

Phase 2 salary adjustments will be implemented in the current fiscal year 2024 and will bring incumbent employees to 90% of the midpoint of their scales and employees with “hot jobs” to 110% of the midpoint of the scales, the report notes.

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