Gov’t says ready to help Toys ‘R’ Us workers amid Puerto Rico closures
SAN JUAN — After receiving notification of final closure of the Toys ‘R’ Us stores in Hatillo and Carolina, and the subsequent dismissal of 84 employees, the Labor Development Program of Puerto Rico’s Economic Development & Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) activated services for the dismissed workers, DDEC Secretary Manuel Laboy informed Friday.
The DDEC State Unit for Displaced Employees & Employers will offer its services to the former employees of the Hatillo store from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Centro de Gestión Única, in front of Arecibo’s Public Plaza. Meanwhile, the now-former employees of the Carolina store can receive services on Friday, Feb. 9, at the municipality’s Labor Department.
“Both in Carolina and Arecibo we will be educating the displaced employees on the government aid to which they are entitled. Among the programs available are Insurance for Unemployment, [the Nutritional Assistance Program] PAN and Mi Salud [government health insurance]. They will also offer résumé writing service, interview techniques, transition management and other support,” explained Natasha Vazqueztell, director of the Labor Development Program.
The Quick Response team from the Displaced Workers Unit was activated to assist the workers, who received their final payment Thursday, Feb. 1.
As explained to the DDEC, the closure of both stores responds to a national reorganization and restructuring plan. Neither of them reopened after Hurricane Maria passed in September
Moreover, Labor & Human Resources Secretary Carlos Saavedra said all resources will be activated so, through the DDEC’s Labor Development Program, employees can access the aforementioned services and receive aid with job search.
“The transition of these employees toward finding another job is one of our priorities,” Saavedra said.