On March 7, 2014, Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed into law the First Chance Youth Employment Act (“Ley de la Primera Oportunidad de Empleo Juvenil”) (“Law 36-2014”). Law 36-2014 aims to create employment opportunities for talented youth who have completed a college degree, so they can enter the workforce in Puerto Rico, rather than emigrate stateside to find employment.
The law incentivizes public sector employers, as well as participants from the business and industrial sectors, to create and identify available employment opportunities for young people. The program will be funded with a $1 million annual assignment, beginning with the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Any qualifying employer under the Act, as well as under Law 1-2013, the “Employment Incentives Act,” may receive benefits for hiring and maintaining qualified youth for positions in their business.
To qualify, an employer must be an “Eligible Business Entity,” which is defined as any natural or legal entity, including corporations, societies, limited liability companies or any other entity or organization that performs, or considers performing, business in Puerto Rico independent from its place of origin, whose principal operations are not eligible to receive other incentives under the law. In addition, the entity must invest at least 15%, or deposit and maintain at least 1%, of its net sales generated in Puerto Rico, in local banks or trusts for a period of no less than three years. Eligible business entities also include those designated as a “new business entity,” “expansion of existing business entity,” or “developing business entity.”
The Act goes into effect on June 6, 2014 and repeals the previous Program for Youth Employment Act.