Deadline to request Christmas bonus exemption is Dec. 2
Puerto Rico Labor secretary reminds private sector of requirements
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Labor Secretary Briseida Torres Reyes announced Wednesday that the island private sector employers have until Dec. 2 to request an exemption from paying their workers the portion of the salary established by Act 148 of 1969, known as the Christmas Bonus Act.
This year, the deadline was moved to Dec. 2, because Nov. 30 falls on a Saturday.
The law requires paying an annual bonus before the year-end holidays to employees who worked 700 hours or more during the 12 months between Oct. 1 of the preceding year and Sept. 30 of the current year.
In a release issued by her office, Torres reminded employers that they must notify the Puerto Rico Labor and Human Resources Department if they intend to not pay the bonus “in full or in part” due to not having “obtained profits, or when these are insufficient to cover the entire bonus.”
“It is important that employers who are considering requesting the exemption do so in a timely manner so that cases can be evaluated in a responsible and fair manner for the parties involved. The [request] application alone does not exempt the employer from paying the bonus, and it is up to the Department of Labor and Human Resources to authorize the exemption from payment, based on the required documents,” the official said.
To qualify for the exemption, employers “must present the statement of situation and the profit and loss statement…revised or audited, signed and sealed…by a certified public accountant (CPA),” the release reads, adding that the secretary may request any other information pursuant to Act 148 to “properly consider the employer’s notification.”
The Labor Department stressed all employers must pay the bonus, unless they “suffered financial losses or not having generated sufficient profits during the period between September 30, 2018, and September 30, 2019.”
Torres also pointed out that the Labor Transformation and Flexibility Act established that the bonus must be paid between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15.
“If the payment is not made during this period, the employer will be obliged to pay, in addition to the corresponding bonus, an amount equal to half of the bonus as additional compensation when the payment is made within the first six (6) months of their noncompliance; or an amount equal to the entire bonus, as additional compensation, if the payment is issued six months after failing to comply,” according to the agency’s release.
For more information about the law and its regulations, as well as the exemption request, visit www.trabajo.pr.gov.