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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – After more than 12 years without the approval of an increase to the minimum wage of $ 7.25 an hour, as of January 1, 2022 will begin an increase to $ 8.50 an hour in Puerto Rico after Governor Pedro Pierluisi signed the bill that establishes said increase on Tuesday.
This could represent an approximate increase of more than $ 2,000 per year for an employee who works full time.
“For a long time thousands of workers on our island have not received an increase in the minimum wage, but they have had an increase in the cost of living for these past 12 years. A payment of $ 7.25 an hour is no longer sustainable to live in Puerto Rico, so it was time to do justice to the working class, “said the president today after signing.
“This law is the result of a work in consensus between the Legislative and the Executive to benefit thousands of Puerto Ricans and Puerto Ricans. I will continue promoting and giving way to measures that promote a better quality of life and that ensure that each one of those who reside on this island can move forward, ”said the governor.
Increase will be staggered until 2024
According to the provisions of the law, on July 1, 2023 the minimum wage will be $ 9.50 and on July 1, 2024 it will be $ 10.50 unless the Minimum Wage Evaluation Commission, attached to the Department of Labor, issues a mandatory decree varying the same.
Pierluisi created, through Executive Order 2021-035, the Governor’s Advisory Group on the Minimum Wage, composed of three representatives of the union sector, three renowned economists, representatives of multiple private sector associations and the heads of government agencies that serve the labor issues and economic development.
This was done with the intention of accepting the recommendations of various sectors to achieve a measure that would do justice to working people and without affecting the economy, especially small and medium businesses.
Together with the governor at the time of turning this bill into law were representatives Héctor Ferrer Santiago and Joel Franqui Atiles as part of the authors of this piece of legislation.
Some legislators consider the rise insufficient
Despite the approval of the increase, it was considered insufficient by some legislators, who understood that it was a short increase to face the high cost of living of the Caribbean island, which continues to increase without being accompanied by the rise in the salaries.
Senator Rafael Bernabé, of the Citizen Victory Movement, pointed out that this increase does not mean that justice is done to the worker.
The president of the Senate, José Luis Dalmau, said that 12 years ago employees received the minimum wage of $ 7.25 an hour, so the legislative piece does justice to the workers.
“So we are responsible for helping those tools are financially available for when these staggered increases are to be made,” Dalmau stressed.
The president of the Senate Finance Commission, Juan Zaragoza, indicated for his part that the measure will help that workers have a more decent salary.
176,959 workers will benefit from this increase, 21.8% of the total number of employees in Puerto Rico, according to a study carried out by the Economic Planning Program of the Planning Board.
This increase would mean a total of $ 225 million annually for the island’s employers.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.