May 15, 2021

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"Essential" for the governor that the budget includes the Christmas bonus

The governor Wanda Vázquez maintained today that it is “essential” that the budget version for this next fiscal year include the payment of the Christmas bonus to public employees, as well as the implementation – as of October 1 – of the compensation and classification plan for workers in accordance with the Single Employer Law.

“If for any reason it is not contained within the approved budget, then we will work with that later,” he said.

He insisted that it does not favor that the compensation and classification plan be implemented as of January of next year and in only 70% of public workers, as stated in the version of the budget approved by the House of Representatives that has the endorsement of the Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF).

Last week the House of Representatives approved its version of the budget for the next fiscal year of $ 10,045 million, which represents a reduction of $ 169 million compared to the proposal of $ 10,124 million presented to the country by Vázquez Garced and which received the praise of the Senate.

Vázquez Garced’s proposal stipulates that the salary increase program would begin in October for 100% of the employees public. “We cannot do the compensation plan until 2021. We have to do it now because I have budgeted for employees to have a labor reform as they deserve,” he said.

He argued that the compensation plan is important for employee mobility between public agencies as stipulated in the Sole Employer Law. “We prepare it, we budget it. It was a great advance for all public employees and for me it is essential. I understood that the Board (of Fiscal Supervision) was going to approve it. We worked with the Board, so I was very surprised that they didn’t include it. I do not understand the reason, but, in any case, I know that the House of Representatives and the Senate understood the importance of that compensation plan, “specific.

Despite the fact that she was hopeful that the version of the budget that finally endorse both houses include the departure to execute the compensation plan, on Sunday the president of the House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez, maintained that he would not back down on the version they approved.

For his part, the president of the Senate, Thomas Rivera Schatz, expressed himself in a similar way when deciding that it would not coincide with the version of the brother body. Given this determination, he anticipated that the budget that would come into effect from July 1 would be the current one.

However, the executive director of the Fiscal Oversight Board, Natalie Jaresko, has warned the Legislature that the cameras had until today, Monday, to agree on the budget, which means that there was a small window for the budget approved by the House of Representatives to enter into force on July 1, described by Jaresko in a letter as “significantly consistent” with the one presented on June 10 by the fiscal entity.

Pending the extraordinary session

When approached about the possibility of convening an extraordinary session, Vázquez Garced said that “we are going to be evaluating ”. He added that the project to address the problem with health insurers “is not ready.” “We are working on it. There is a working group that is helping me to prepare this legislation and, then, to convene the extraordinary session, “he said at a press conference after meeting with the union leadership of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA).

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