Rep. Ferrer proposes commission to analyze minimum wage hike

By The Star Staff

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. Héctor Ferrer Santiago proposed on Monday the creation of a commission to analyze and establish a process for increasing the minimum wage in Puerto Rico.

“Our working class lives in a difficult economic situation, which is further aggravated by the pandemic,” the freshman legislator said in a written statement. “We have more than 300,000 people in jobs subject to the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour, which represents an annual wage of $15,080. It is time to do wage justice to these workers, through a serious analysis that results in benefits for all the sectors involved.”

The joint resolution of the House of Representatives establishes that the commission will have the purpose of defining a methodology for carrying out an increase to the minimum wage in Puerto Rico and would be composed of the secretaries of the Department of Labor and Human Resources and the Department of the Treasury, as well as the leaders of both legislative bodies. In addition, it would have representatives of the public interest appointed by the governor.

Reps. Luis Raúl Torres, Jesús Manuel Ortiz, Ramón Luis Cruz Burgos, Juan José Santiago and Domingo Torres joined as co-authors of the bill.

“Contrary to what other sources indicate, granting an increase in the minimum wage would have a positive effect on the economic development of Puerto Rico,” Ferrer Santiago said. “The study carried out by the proposed commission should emphasize the importance of achieving this increase in order to improve the existing economic inequality.”

Likewise, the PDP lawmaker said that any change in the island minimum wage should be subject to the cost of living and recommended that it be implemented by phases.

“Any proposed increase must be phased, but with the interest of doing justice to the salaried worker” he said. “It is essential that the commission seek to vindicate the work culture in Puerto Rico and strengthen the formal economy over the informal economy, an essential element in the construction of a [national] project.”

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