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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senate overrides governor’s veto of minimum wage hike for public employees

Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago

By The Star Staff

The island Senate on Tuesday approved with 18 votes in favor to override Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia’s veto of the measure that seeks to establish the “Minimum Wage Law for Public Employees of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico” to establish a new minimum base wage of $10.50 per hour, in a staggered manner, subject to the law’s provisions.

Senate Bill 563, seen on reconsideration, provides that on “the first day of the month following the approval of this Act, the minimum wage of Public Employees shall be increased to $8.50 per hour.”

“By July 1, 2023, the minimum wage of public employees will be $9.50 per hour. On July 1, 2024, the increase to the minimum wage for public employees will be $10.50 an hour unless the Commission [on the minimum wage] issues a Mandatory Order varying the same,” the measure reads. “In addition, from July 1, 2024 onwards, the minimum wage of public employees shall be that established by the Commission.”

Pierluisi asked the members of the House of Representatives not to override his veto.

“[I ask] that they respect my decision because we have an ongoing review of the pay plan in all central government agencies and the vast majority of public corporations,” the governor said at a press conference. “The Fiscal Board has already cleared the way for that, and it has been a great effort. This measure is better than establishing a minimum wage.”

“I hope the House will be sympathetic to my position,” he added.

In the governor’s opinion, the Salary Compensation Plan (which becomes effective in January) establishes items to balance the salaries of public employees that the vetoed measure does not consider.

In a recent press conference, House Speaker Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez said the majority in the lower chamber had the votes to override Pierluisi’s veto and was confident that lawmakers would do so.

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