On September 21. 2021, the governor of Puerto, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, signed the bill to increase the minimum wage for the first time in more than 12 years and most folks are pretty happy. The approach will be staggered; beginning at the current $7.25 an hour, the rate will increase to $8.50 in January 2023. Then in July 2023, $9.50.
The anticipated wages may be further raised to $10.50 in July of 2024. But that will need to reach specific metrics and has not yet been signed into action. Those metrics would include the level of employment, level of salary, and level of economic activity.
The Reactions to the Wage Increase
In his statement at the signing, Gov. Pierluisi stated, "for a long time, thousands of workers on our island have not received an increase in the minimum wage, but they have had an increase in the cost of living for these past 12 years. A payment of $7.25 an hour is no longer sustainable to live in Puerto Rico, so it was time to do justice to the working class."
As one can imagine, the people of Puerto Rico met this news with cheers when learning that the increase could represent an additional $2000 per year for a full-time worker.
In addition, the PRCC (Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce) has stated their approval of the gradual rate hike. The president of PRCC, Luis Gierbolini, was initially concerned about the rate increases that were addressed beginning in 2009. He was relieved that a staggered approach was decided on as it would be easier on the businesses of the island nation.
Furthermore, the hope is to help Puerto Rico out of the economic slump they have been forced to endure.
CITED: abcnews.go.com, apnews.com, theweeklyjournal.com, littler.com