Puerto Rico Employers Must Now Inform Employees Who Have Been Laid Off, Furloughed or Experience a Reduction in Hours the Right to Request Unemployment Benefits

Puerto Rico’s Department of Labor and Human Resources has issued Circular Letter 2020-02 (CC 2020-02) providing that, effective immediately, any private employer that lays off or reduces employees’ regular working hours is required to notify them of the benefits available under the Unemployment Insurance Program.  The notification must be in writing and made at the time of layoff or reduction in hours. CC 2020-02 also includes the requirements that an employer must incorporate in this notification.

Among these requirements, the employer must provide notice of the right to apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits and reference the Puerto Rico Employment Security Act, Law No. 74 of June 21, 1956, as amended, 24 LPRA sec. 701 et seq.  In addition, an employer must include a statement that the claimant may file a claim for Unemployment Insurance in the first week in which they have ceased work or in which their working hours have been reduced. Furthermore, CC 2020-02 requires employers to provide employees with the contact information where they may seek assistance and/or file their claims and the information employees need to submit at the time of filing their unemployment benefits claim.  Employers are also expected to provide information to the employees on where to follow up on claims.

On a regular basis, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, employers are being asked to assume additional responsibilities towards their employees. It is important to consult with your local counsel to ensure you are up to date on Puerto Rico’s labor requirements.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.