Thursday, October 19, 2017

House to concur with Senate amendments to labor reform

By on January 23, 2017

SAN JUAN – The House of Representatives was preparing Monday to concur with the amendments to labor reform (House Bill 453) introduced by the Senate, which, among other things, reduces the accumulation of vacation and sick-leave days as well as the Christmas bonus for private sector employees.

House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez made the announcement in a press conference after concluding his weekly meeting with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and the Senate leadership.

“We will concur with the amendments. We were in the process of evaluating what the Senate had approved, but we will concur,” said the speaker, who will consider labor reform in Monday’s session. He added that the lower chamber will concur with the amendments after analyzing them and discussing them with La Fortaleza, not because the governor requested it.

Méndez sent a letter to the fiscal oversight board indicating that the House will take the needed measures but that he will try to avoid "greater sacrifices for our wage-earning class." (Felipe Torres / CB)

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and House Speaker Carlos ‘Johnny ‘ Méndez (Felipe Torres / CB)

Among the amendments the Senate introduced to the labor reform bill, which was approved at 1:30 a.m. Thursday, is to set the probationary period for new employees to nine months and to 12 months for executives (originally, the bill stipulated a  an 18-month probationary period).

In addition, the Senate amended the bill so there is at least eight hours of rest between each shift, that the weight of evidence falls on employers in cases of unjustified dismissals, reverses total sick leave to 12 days and that assistance to a religious service be requested in advance. The measure includes fines for employers who do not allow their employees to attend religious services.

When concurring with the amendments, the bill will go directly to the governor for his signature.

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