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Rosselló signs executive order to raise minimum wage

By on March 2, 2017

SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Thursday afternoon that he will sign an executive order to raise the $7.25 minimum wage to $8.25 an hour for central government employees.

Although the measure’s fiscal impact is not yet known, the governor  indicated that the salary increase will be in effect for the fiscal 2018’s budget, which begins this July. Despite having said a say earlier that there is a group of public employees who currently earn less than minimum wage, which he called an “anomaly,” on Thursday he said he didn’t know how many people fall into that group.

After delivering his message in the 100th anniversary celebration of the U.S. citizenship in Puerto Rico, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló informed he will increase the minimum wage for employees in the central government. (Cindy Burgos/CB)

After delivering his message during the 100th anniversary celebration of U.S. citizenship in Puerto Rico, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced he was increasing the minimum wage for central government employees. (Cindy Burgos/CB)

“With this executive order we begin a process aimed at fulfilling our intention of steadily raising the minimum wage of our public employees until reaching $10 an hour. We also set the parameters to achieve an increase, taking into account the fiscal resources of the government, of the minimum wage of our workers,” Rosselló said.

The governor will also sign an executive order (OE 2017-26) to create a task force to evaluate the possibility of raising the minimum wage in the private sector in order to present legislation thereof.

This task force will comprise Labor Secretary Carlos Saavedra, Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy, Planning Board Executive Director María del Carmen Gordillo, a member of the Private Sector Coalition, a member of the union movement, and a person designated by the governor. The group will have 90 days as of the executive order’s signature to present recommendations.

See also: Rep. Natal presents bill to raise minimum wage to $13

In response to questions by Caribbean Business, the governor said the move would increase hourly wages for workers who earn less than $8.25. Eventually, the government will consider an increase for public employees who currently earn $8.25.

Rosselló said he doesn’t believe the financial control board will deter his proposal because it is included in the fiscal plan he presented Tuesday.

This year, 19 states raised their respective minimum wages over the federal minimum of $7.25, which has remained unchanged since 2009.

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