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November 2021: Puerto Rico Issues New Executive Order Providing for New Vaccination Mandates

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Puerto Rico with 50 or more employees.

What happened?
On November 15, 2021, Governor Pierluisi issued Executive Order No. 2021-075 (EO 2021-075), which integrates prior COVID-19-related orders still in effect and, notably, includes vaccine/testing requirements for employers with 50 or more employees.

What are the details?

Taking effect immediately, employers must require their employees to provide:

  • Proof of vaccination
  • A negative test result at least every seven days; or
  • Certified proof of recovery within the last three months of COVID-19

Employers with less than 50 employees are not required to comply to the requirements above for now.

Employees who work for employers with 50 or more employees must provide proof that, by November 30, 2021, they have initiated the vaccination process. They must then certify to the employer that they have received the second dose of the vaccine if the type of vaccine that was administered requires it.

Employees will have until December 30, 2021, to complete the vaccination process.

Employees who do not provide proof of vaccination and who are not vaccinated must submit a COVID-19 negative test result at least every seven days or a positive COVID-19 result within the last three months and proof of recovery.

Employees who fail to comply with the mandatory vaccination requirements or provide the required results will not be allowed to be physically present in the work area. For such an employee, the employer can implement applicable pertinent measures, including allowing the employee to use the relevant leave of absence or unpaid leave, if applicable.

The Executive Order eliminates the religious and medical exemptions provided in prior executive orders. Further, employees who are not vaccinated (for any reason) must present a negative COVID-19 test results at least every seven days or submit certified proof of recovery within the last three months from COVID-19. Prior executive orders required test results on the first day of the workweek.

Failure to comply with the Executive Order may result in fines of up to $5,000, six months in jail, or both, at the discretion of a court.

For more information, please see the links below:

Puerto Rico Executive Orders Website

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links and immediately make adjustments to their COVID-19 vaccination policies.

October 2021 Puerto Rico HR Legal Updates

Puerto Rico Passes Minimum Wage Increase Law

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Puerto Rico.

What happened?
On September 21, 2021, Governor Pierluisi signed the Puerto Rico Minimum Wage Act (House Bill 338, Act 47-2021) into law.

What are the details?
The law, effective January 1, 2021, supersedes the lower federal minimum wage beginning 2022 and creates the “Minimum Wage Review Board” to periodically review and potentially increase minimum wage every two years. The law will automatically increase to $8.50 per hour on January 1, 2022, and to $9.50 per hour on July 1, 2023, for all employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. It is scheduled to increase to $10.50 per hour on July 1, 2024, unless the new Minimum Wage Review Board provides otherwise.

The minimum wage increase applies to non-exempt employees covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Puerto Rico’s minimum wage will not apply to the following:

  • Agriculture workers
  • Administrators, executives, and professionals
  • Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement establishing a higher wage.
  • Governmental employees, including the government’s executive agencies, legislative and judiciary branches, municipalities, and instrumentalities, but excluding employees of public corporations and other public entities that operate as private corporations.

For more information, please see the links below:

Official Statement

Article 1

Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the new law’s information and their current payroll policies to make applicable updates and comply with the law once it is effective.

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