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Government identifies Over 1,500 public employees who earn minimum wage

By on March 3, 2017

SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rican government has identified 1,526 public employees who earn $7.25 an hour and who, beginning July 1, could see a $40-a-month increase to their salary as a result of Executive Order 2017-026, which Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed Thursday.

In a written statement sent to Caribbean Business, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director José Iván Marrero Rosado explained that, during the development of the government’s fiscal plan, his agency identified “1,526 cases of employees who earn monthly salaries of under $1,178, an amount equal to the monthly income of a full-time government employee [based on 37.5 hours a week] working at the current federal minimum wage [$7.25 an hour].”

The official said these employees will benefit from the $8.25 minimum wage starting July 1, “along with the thousands of public employees in the central government who now make less than that amount.” Marrero Rosado did not specify the number of public employees who currently make between $7.26 and $8.24 an hour.

OMB Director José Iván Marrero Rosado, background, during his participation in a Chamber of Commerce forum. (Felipe Torres / CB)

OMB Director José Iván Marrero Rosado, background, during his participation in a Chamber of Commerce forum. (Felipe Torres / CB)

He also did not go into the fiscal impact the measure would have on the government as it tries to convince the fiscal control board to accept its proposal of implementing fewer cuts than the $4.5 billion recommended by the governing body established by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (Promesa).

In addition to public sector employees, the executive order provides that those who earn the federal minimum while under government contract for construction projects also get $8.25 an hour. Government contractors will have to issue a certification to match the minimum wage of their employees to that of public workers.

“With this executive order, we began a process aimed at fulfilling our desire to increase the minimum wage of our public servants in phases until reaching $10 an hour,” the governor said in a press release.

The order leaves the identification of budget allocations required to meet the objectives of the decree in the OMB director’s hands.

Rosselló is also expected to sign another executive order to create a multisectoral committee on the minimum wage increase. This group will be headed by the Labor secretary and will be made up by the Economic Development secretary, the Planning Board president, a member of the Private Sector Coalition, a member of the labor union movement, an economist and a person nominated by the governor.

The committee will be in charge of analyzing and preparing a report to be submitted within 90 days of the signing of the executive order with recommendations aimed at enacting legislation to increase the minimum wage for the island’s private sector as well.

The first panel of the public hearing on the single employer bill was composed of OMB Director José Marrero, OCALARH Director Nydza Irizarry and Labor Secretary Carlos Saavedra. (Cindy Burgos / CB)

The first panel of the public hearing on the single employer bill was composed of OMB Director José Marrero, OCALARH Director Nydza Irizarry and Labor Secretary Carlos Saavedra. (Cindy Burgos / CB)

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