Hot off the Press: New Labor Reform Bill for Puerto Rico
New Legislation Enacted
On June 20, 2022, Governor Pedro Pierluisi signed into law Act No. 41-2022, instituting drastic changes to labor and employment laws in Puerto Rico and extending employment rights for employees in the private sector. In doing so, the governor rejected the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico’s position that the bill is inconsistent with the fiscal plan. The new law intends to restore certain rights that had been eliminated or reduced by the 2017 Labor Transformation and Flexibility Act (2017 Labor Reform) and, further, to create additional rights for part-timers and students. It is important to note that unless an employer qualifies as a microbusiness or as a small or medium-sized business, it has 30 days to comply with the Act.
Puerto Rico Supreme Court Favors Employers on Business Reorganization and Unjustified Dismissal
Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico addressed the standard and level of proof that must be presented by employers when raising as an affirmative defense a corporate reorganization. In the case, the Court ruled that in cases involving unjustified dismissal claims under Act No. 80 of May 30, 1976 (Act 80), the employer is not required to present evidence in a specific way of a bona fide accreditation in order to lawfully prove the existence of a reorganization process or business plan. Accordingly, it should be enough for employers to certify and prove that the business reorganization implemented a valid managerial decision and was not made on a mere whim.
With COVID-19 Numbers on the Rise, Puerto Rico DOH Updates Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines
New Regulation or Official Guidance
The Puerto Rico Department of Health (PR DOH) has issued new Guidelines for Case Investigation and Contact Tracing for COVID-19 (Guidelines). These provide updates to previously issued quarantine and isolation guidelines. With COVID-19 positivity rates nearing 30% on the island, employers are struggling to maintain their operations while complying with PR DOH guidelines on quarantine and isolation.