Salary increase proposed for central gov’t employees
By John McPhaul
Popular Democratic Party Reps. Edgardo Feliciano Sánchez, Luis “Narmito” Ortiz Lugo, Jocelyne Rodríguez Negrón, Estrella Martínez Soto, Deborah Soto Arroyo and Orlando José Aponte Rosario filed House Bill 1168 (HB 1168) on Wednesday, which seeks to increase the salary of central government employees due to the rise in the cost of living on the island.
“The people of Puerto Rico have witnessed the hard work in favor of the country that we have done in the House of Representatives,” Feliciano Sánchez said in a written statement. “We approved a staggered increase in the minimum wage that began to do justice to private sector workers and with this measure we also want to be fair to the over 100,000 public employees who have not received an increase for more than 10 years.”
Ortiz Lugo, meanwhile, maintained that “with the approval of the Debt Adjustment Plan, funds have been released in the budget and this increase of $100 can be honored for all career public employees starting on July 1, 2022.”
“We have already taken the first step to get out of bankruptcy and austerity measures are not an option,” he added. “I will be fighting hard to achieve this increase for our public servants.”
The measure seeks to grant a raise of $100 per month to public employees who, as of Dec. 31, 2021, are classified as regular active career employees. The increase is equivalent to approximately $136 million of the general budget and would take effect on July 1.
“Inflation has directly affected the lives of Puerto Ricans; it is not fair that our public employees, who work daily for the well being of our people, have to continue to become poorer,” Martínez Soto said. “This measure partially addresses the economic needs and financial precariousness of our public servants who today do more with much less.”
Rodríguez Negrón added: “Our people don’t have to choose between paying for electricity or making a purchase. Every day I see how the public servants who work in my district, which includes the towns of Mayagüez and San Germán, suffer increases in basic and necessary services without having a salary increase. This measure comes to give them a break so that they can tackle in a certain way that rise in the cost of living that affects us.”
HB 1168 also has the endorsement of New Progressive Party Reps. José “Quiquito” Meléndez, José “Che” Pérez and Wanda del Valle.