Rep. Natal presents bill to raise minimum wage to $13
SAN JUAN – Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rep. Manuel Natal announced Tuesday that he has presented a bill to increase Puerto Rico’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $13.44 an hour, proposing it be reviewed every two years to help guarantee a higher quality of life on the island.
“An increase in the minimum wage will encourage [private sector] consumption, resulting in an improvement in the sales of our local businesses. The state’s role will be to channel public funds to help local small and midsize enterprises cope with any unexpected situations regarding payroll,” Natal said during a news conference.
Likewise, the bill repeals Act 4 of Labor Reform, which prospectively reduces vacation and sick-leave days for private sector employees, and creates a board to review workers’ wages and benefits, depending on the industry to which they belong.
“Far from establishing a course change that promotes the emergence of our economy, the laws approved by this administration promote social inequality and unleash the main problem of our economy: the emigration of our productive population. Our initiative aims to give our workers an opportunity to grow and a reason for not abandoning their country,” the representative said as a criticism of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s public policy.
The bill also provides for part-time employees to accumulate sick leave and vacation days, and regulates internships’ economic conditions. Federal law would apply in matters of greater labor benefits.
This is not the first time Natal has presented such a measure. During the past administration, he also presented a bill to raise the minimum wage.