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Moratorium on Passage of Labor Laws Urged

By on April 22, 2016

SAN JUAN – A group of associations, professionals and entrepreneurs have requested a moratorium on the approval of some labor laws being considered by the Legislature.

These say their initiative intends to prevent further increases to the private sector’s operational costs and hamper its ability to “continue contributing to the socioeconomic development of Puerto Rico, despite the island’s fiscal crisis.”

Their spokeswoman, Lymaris Otero, said that “in these times of uncertainty and crisis we are experiencing, we are surprised that burdening the private sector with labor measures is being considered because, certainly, what we should be thinking about is the future of Puerto Rico and its economic recovery.

“Although the 10 bills on various labor issues under consideration by the Legislature may superficially seem like [harmless] measures, these would represent a wound to the country’s productive sector–for small, midsize and large businesses,” she added.

The group says some of the measures would represent higher operational costs to businesses because of the changes that would be made to minimum wage provisions, as well as vacation and sick-leave days. They point to Senate bills 1195, 1239 and 1305 among others.

“Instead of encouraging the creation or retention of much-needed jobs in Puerto Rico, these measures will result in more layoffs and business closures,” Otero said in a statement.

She also noted that employment has been declining in an “alarming and uninterrupted” manner for 37 months and that the number those employed fell dramatically in March, by 13,000, according to Labor Department statistics.

Some of the associations and professional groups that have joined in the claim are Puerto Rico’s Telecommunications Alliance, Parador Owners Association, the Hotel & Tourism Association, HomeBuilders Association and Chamber of Commerce. Also part of the group are the Restaurant, Construction Materials Merchants, Products and Retail associations.

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