New Unemployment Insurance Regulation Promulgated by the Puerto Rico Department of Labor

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New Unemployment Insurance Regulation Promulgated by the Puerto Rico Department of Labor

The Puerto Rico Department of Labor has just promulgated new regulations concerning the unemployment insurance system in Puerto Rico (the “New Regulation”).  The New Regulation becomes effective on December 8, 2018, and supersedes all previous pertinent regulations.  A copy of the New Regulation may be obtained here.

Under the New Regulation, both the minimum and the maximum weekly benefits are increased.  Pursuant to Article 3.12(b), in the case of non-farming employees, the minimum weekly benefits increase from $7.00 to $33.00, while the maximum weekly benefits increase from $133.00 to $190.00, starting on July 1, 2019.  Pursuant to Article 3.12(c), these benefits will increase again commencing July 1, 2020; specifically, from $33.00 to $60.00, in the case of the minimum weekly benefits, and from $190.00 to $240.00, in the case of maximum weekly benefits.

In the case of employers, there are particular changes involving payment plans, an extended 30‑days term to appeal the P.R. Secretary of Labor decisions concerning employer’s tax payments, and information disclosure requirements. Pursuant to Article 13(b) of the New Regulation, the Director of the Unemployment Insurance Bureau of the Puerto Rico Department of Labor may now enter into payment plans with a term of up to 60 months.  Additionally, the payment plan’s initial payment was reduced from 20% to 15%.  Payment plans must provide for the payment of interest on the outstanding amounts.  Article 22 and 25 of the New Regulation provide for a 30‑days term to appeal decisions by the Secretary of the P.R. Department of Labor on allegedly deficient reports and employment tax payments.  Appeals are taken before the Puerto Rico Court of First Instance corresponding to the employer’s principal place of business.  Finally, under Article 27 of the New Regulation, the P.R. Secretary of Labor may provide information requested by other agencies of the Government of Puerto Rico.  The request for information must be in writing and must specify the type of information, its intended use, and the name of the authorized party who will receive it.  However, this information is considered and must be treated as confidential information.