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Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury Grants Temporary Tax Exemptions for Employer-Provided Payments and Certain Benefits to Employees Related to Hurricane Maria Relief

On October 4, 2017, the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury (the “PR Treasury”) issued Administrative Determination No. 17-21 (“AD 17-21”) granting temporary income tax exemptions for payments and certain benefits provided by employers to their employees for relief due to the passing of Hurricane Maria through Puerto Rico, provided such payments are considered “Qualified Payments Made for Disaster Assistance” and certain requirements are met.

Puerto Rico Employers May Pay Their Outstanding Workers' Compensation Debts Owed to the State Insurance Fund Corporation with a 50% Discount

The Puerto Rican government recently enacted Act 92, which establishes a debt payment incentive plan (the “Plan”) for employers in Puerto Rico that have outstanding debts with the Puerto Rico State Insurance Fund Corporation (“SIFC”). Under Puerto Rican law, workers' compensation can only be obtained through the SIFC, a government-owned corporation.1 In the event of a work-related accident at an uninsured employer, the SIFC nevertheless covers that accident and seeks reimbursement from the uninsured employer for any compensation plus medical expenses the SIFC incurred. The SIFC collects such amounts and deposits them into the Uninsured-Employer Cases Fund.

Puerto Rico Employers Prepare for New Guidelines Governing Equal Pay in the Workplace

On August 10, 2017, the Puerto Rico Secretary of Labor and Human Resources issued and made effective the Uniform Guidelines for the Self-Assessment of Equal Pay in the Workplace (“the Guidelines”).

New Puerto Rico Labor Department Religious Accommodation Regulations Effective May 25

The Employment Law Reform enacted earlier this year in Puerto Rico introduced a local requirement to accommodate an employee’s observance of religious practices or beliefs. (See our article, Top 20 Things You Should Know About the Proposed Puerto Rico Employment Law Reform.)

Puerto Rico Employers Brace for New Right to Religious Freedom Accommodation Requests

Earlier this year, the Governor of Puerto Rico signed into law the Labor Transformation and Flexibility Act (“the Act”). While the Act makes substantial changes to virtually all existing Puerto Rico employment laws, it also introduces a new employee right not previously recognized: the right to participate in religious services. Last month, the Secretary of Labor and Human Resources filed Regulation Number 8947 before de Puerto Rico Department of State to implement this new right. The Regulation is set to take effect on May 25, 2017.

Deadline for Plan Sponsors to Submit Qualification Amendments with the Puerto Rico Treasury is Fast Approaching

Employers that sponsor an employee retirement plan in Puerto Rico must review plan amendments and/or restatements adopted during 2016 to determine whether they need to submit their plan documents to the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury (“Puerto Rico Treasury”) for qualification.

5 Groundbreaking Changes in Puerto Rico Employment Law

“It was California on steroids,” says Littler global attorney Shiara Diloné, mincing few words about the state of Puerto Rico employment law prior to January 26, 2017. But with the stroke of his pen, Governor Ricardo Rossello appears to have changed that in signing the most comprehensive overhaul of Puerto Rico labor and employment law in 50 years.

Puerto Rico Equal Pay Act Aims to Close Gender Pay Gap

On March 8, 2017, Puerto Rico continued the overhaul of its employment laws by enacting, with immediate effect, Act No. 16, known as the “Puerto Rico Equal Pay Act.” The act is not only similar to the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963, it also requires that Puerto Rico courts interpret the act in accordance with its federal counterpart and related federal regulations. Some of the key provisions of the act are summarized below.

Puerto Rico Enacts Equal Pay Law, Prohibits Employers from Inquiring about Past Salary History

Almost two months after signing sweeping employment law reform, Governor Ricardo Rosselló has signed Puerto Rico Act No. 16 of March 8, 2017, known as the “Puerto Rico Equal Pay Act.” Act 16 is effective immediately.

Puerto Rico Adopts Local Equal Pay Act

On March 8, 2017, Puerto Rico enacted Act 16, creating the Puerto Rico Equal Pay Act ("PR Equal Pay Act" or "the Act"). The law's stated intent is to eradicate the pay difference between female and male employees. To that end, the Act prohibits pay discrimination based on sex among employees performing comparable job functions or duties that require the same skill, effort or responsibilities under similar working conditions.