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Puerto Rico DOL Issues Guidance on Law Prohibiting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

On May 2019, the Puerto Rico Department of Labor (PRDOL) revised and updated its Protocol on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination pursuant to Act No. 22 of 2013 (Protocol). The new Protocol contains guidelines to assist private and public employers on how to interpret and implement Act No. 22, which generally prohibits sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in most public and private-sector workplaces.

Puerto Rico Supreme Court Holds Arbitration Clauses in Employment Contracts—Including Those Governing Unjust Dismissal Claims—are Valid and Enforceable

The Puerto Rico Supreme Court (PRSC) recently issued a judgment in José Méndez et al v. Carso Construction, 2019 TSPR 19 (May 22, 2019), validating an arbitration clause that covers a claim under the Puerto Rico Unjust Dismissal statute, Local Act No. 80 of May 30, 1976 (Act 80). The effect of the PRSC’s holding is that an arbitrator will have original jurisdiction to hear unjust dismissal disputes if the contract between the employer and the employee or contractor includes a valid arbitration clause.

Guidelines on the Interpretation of Puerto Rico’s Employment Legislation, Chapters 1-3

As we have previously discussed, the Puerto Rico Department of Labor (PR DOL) has recently published the first edition of its Guidelines on the Interpretation of Puerto Rico’s Employment Legislation (Guidelines), which includes the PR DOL’s official statutory interpretation of nearly all of Puerto Rico’s employment laws. The over 200-page Guidelines are divided into 15 chapters and cover a wide range of statutes.

Puerto Rico Treasury Again Extends Deadlines to Request Federal Employee Retention Benefit After Hurricanes Irma And María

On May 17, 2019, the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury (“PR Treasury”) issued Internal Revenue Informative Bulletin No. 19-07, granting an additional extension until June 30, 2019 for employers to request the Federal Employee Retention Benefit (“Benefit”) related to Hurricanes Irma and María. Consequently, the deadline to submit a Benefit claim (for employers that have requested the Benefit and have not yet received it) has also been extended until July 10, 2019.

Puerto Rico Department of Labor Issues First Comprehensive Guidelines on Employment Laws

On May 8, 2019, the Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Labor (hereinafter, “PR-DOL”) issued the first edition of the “Guidelines for the Interpretation of Puerto Rico’s Employment Legislation” (hereinafter, the “Guidelines”) in an effort to provide guidance and a general overview of its position and interpretation over Puerto Rico’s employment statutes and regulations. Instead of having several publications by topic, the PR-DOL chose to compile in a single publication the interpretations that they have been carrying out for decades, as well as new ones.

Puerto Rico Treasury Department Issues New Quarterly Tax Return for Withholding Payments for Services Rendered

Act 257 of December 10, 2018 (Act 257) amended the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code to require any person or entity required to withhold income tax on payments for services rendered to submit a reconciliation quarterly tax return. Accordingly, the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury (the “PR Treasury”) recently issued Internal Revenue Circular Letter No. 19-10 (“CL 19-10”) to: (i) announce the issuance the new form 480.6 SP-1 (the “Quarterly Return”) and the procedures related to the electronic filing of the Quarterly Return; and (ii) establish a minimum tax withholding amount requirement that may be deposited quarterly with the Quarterly Return.

Puerto Rico Supreme Court Holds that an Employee’s Felony Indictment Constitutes Just Cause for Termination

The Puerto Rico Supreme Court (PRSC) recently held that that a felony indictment constitutes just cause for termination under Puerto Rico’s Unjust Dismissal statute, Act No. 80 of May 30, 1976 (Act 80).1 In Edwin González Santiago v. Baxter Healthcare of Puerto Rico, 2019 TSPR 79, 202 D.P.R. ___ (April 25, 2019), the PRSC also established that the presumption of innocence that applies in the criminal context does not extend to the labor and employment context.

Puerto Rico DOL Allows Employers to File Unemployment Returns on Paper for First Quarter of 2019

Last month, the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources (PR DOL) issued a press release announcing that all employers will be required to submit their unemployment quarterly returns electronically starting with the first quarter of 2019. This announcement was in accordance with the new regulations regarding the Administration of the Puerto Rico Unemployment Insurance Program. Although the March 14 press release specified that the PR DOL will not accept or consider any returns on paper, due to the difficulties that some employers are encountering with the electronic filing process, the PR DOL issued a last-minute administrative determination allowing employers to submit the quarterly return corresponding to the first quarter of 2019 on paper. The Secretary of the PR DOL clarified, however, that the deadline to file the unemployment quarterly returns continues to be April 30, 2019. Thus, employers still facing difficulties complying with the electronic filing should go ahead and file their returns for the first quarter of 2019 on paper with the PR DOL to ensure compliance with the reporting requirement. Please note that employers have until TODAY—April 30, 2019—to either file the return electronically or on paper with the PR DOL.

Puerto Rico DOL Announces that Employers Must Submit Unemployment Tax Returns Electronically

On March 14, 2019, the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources (PR DOL) issued a press release announcing that in an effort to improve services and reduce public expenses, all employers will be required to submit their unemployment tax returns electronically starting April 1, 2019.

Puerto Rico Treasury Extends Deadlines to Request Federal Employee Retention Benefit After Hurricanes Irma And María

The Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury (“PR Treasury”) has issued Internal Revenue Informative Bulletin No. 19-01, extending until March 31, 2019 the deadline to request the Federal Employee Retention Benefit (“Benefit”) related to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Consequently, the deadline to submit a Benefit claim (for those employers who have requested the Benefit and have not yet received it) has also been extended until April 30, 2019.