Puerto Rico Adopts New Regulation to Administer Unemployment Insurance

On November 8, 2018, the Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources published a new regulation governing the administration of Puerto Rico's unemployment insurance program. The Regulation to Administer the Unemployment Insurance Program (“Regulation”), which implements Puerto Rico’s Employment Security Act and supersedes three previous regulations,1 will take effect on December 8, 2018. Among other provisions, the Regulation reflects changes in weekly benefit amounts, revises partial payment plan requirements, and extends the time in which an employer can appeal a tax deficiency determination.

Specifically, the Regulation incorporates new tables regarding the current and future payments of benefits available to unemployed workers who qualify. To that effect, starting on July 1, 2019, the minimum weekly benefit will increase from $7 to $33, and the maximum weekly benefit will increase from $133 to $190. Likewise, starting on July 1, 2020, the minimum and maximum weekly benefits will increase again from $33 and $190 to $60 and $240, respectively.

The Regulation contains two significant changes affecting employers. The first change concerns partial payment plans, which allow employers to pay back due taxes on unemployment benefits to the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury (“Treasury”). The Regulation now allows employers to request 60-month payment plans, as opposed to the previously available 36-month payment plans, and an initial payment of a minimum of 15% of the tax debt to the Treasury, as opposed to the 20% previously required. Second, employers now have 30 days instead of 15 to appeal the Secretary's determination that the employer's tax payments on unemployment benefits were deemed deficient. Additionally, the Regulation incorporates a new Article regarding the disclosure of information that is given by the employer and the employee used for the determination of granting benefits. The Article establishes the procedure to request that information, and the allowed uses by government agencies, departments or services of said information.

Employers interested in reviewing the Regulation can view a copy here. Please note that the Regulation is only available in Spanish.

See Footnotes

1 Act. No. 74 of June 21, 1956. This new regulation was required under the Labor Transformation and Flexibility Act, commonly known as Act. No. 4-2017, signed on January 26, 2017. The regulation supplants Regulation No. 1223-1968, Regulation No. 1247-1969, and Regulation No. 7870-2010.

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.