Puerto Rico gov’t makes way for incentivized public employee resignations
SAN JUAN – From Nov. 15 to March 15, public employees may resign voluntarily in exchange for an economic incentive the Government of Puerto Rico will give them until the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Although it was announced several months ago as part of government restructuring measures under the fiscal plan, on Tuesday the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (Aafaf by its Spanish acronym) signed an administrative order that establishes the Voluntary Transition Program.
La Fortaleza announced the program in a press release Thursday.
“With this measure, we help employees who want to seek other opportunities outside the government while reducing public spending in the long term without dismissing anyone,” Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares said.
To incentivize the “voluntary resignation,” the government will pay public employees what they would have earned from the day they resigned until June 30. The incentive will be paid through installments each time the government pays its employees and will be tax-free.
According to the Aafaf order, only executive branch career employees whose status is “regular” are eligible, except those whose salaries are covered by federal funds. Politically appointed, or trust, employees may be eligible only if they have the right to work in a career position and do so.
Participants of the program will also be paid the vacation days and overtime to which they are entitled. They will also receive $100 monthly until June 30 to pay for a health plan.
Employees who can already receive retirement benefits may do so and receive the same economic incentive for resigning voluntarily. However, the retirement annuity to which they are entitled will not be sent until July 1.
The process to benefit from the program includes an electronic application that will be evaluated by the head of the respective agency and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which may deny applications under certain criteria.
“If the Nominating Authority determines that the voluntary resignation of the eligible employee adversely affects the services the executive branch entity provides or does not have the necessary funds for compliance with the requirements of this Administrative Order, it may deny the eligible employee’s request to benefit from the program,” the document reads.
Once the application is approved, the employee will need to sign a final agreement that their resignation is “final and irrevocable” and released the government from all claims they may have or had related to their employment and the termination process.
Although the applications’ evaluation will mostly be conducted by the corresponding agency and the OMB, the program will be managed by a committee led by Aafaf and the participation of the heads of the Treasury, Economic Development and Labor departments.
“The Committee will have all the necessary…powers to implement this Administrative Order,” the document adds.
Employees who take part in the program will be registered in a Labor Department “talent bank” available for private sector and non-profit employers.