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Puerto Rico Equal Pay Act

March 12, 2018

Goes Live March 18, 2018

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello signed into law The “Equal Pay Act” (PREPA or the Act). The law is intended to eradicate gender-based pay disparities. The legislation was effective immediately upon signing; however employers will not be held liable for violations of the Act until one year after the enactment of the legislation, which will be March 18, 2018.

The ordinance will prohibit employers from asking a job applicant or the applicant’s current or former employer about the applicant’s current or past salary history.

There are two exceptions to this legislation:

  • If the job applicant voluntarily discloses his or her current or past salary history, the potential employer may confirm or allow the applicant to confirm the information.
  • The potential employer may inquire about or confirm the applicant’s current or past salary history if the employer negotiated the compensation rate with and made an offer or employment to the applicant.

Specifically, the new legislation states:

Article 4 .- Practices s Illegal is:
That an employer asks or inquires of an applicant for employment or of the current or former employer, on the current salary or wage history of said applicant for employment.
However, it is provided that:

  1. if an applicant for employment voluntarily disclosed such information, the potential employer may confirm the applicant's salary or salary history or allow the applicant for employment to confirm such information; or
  2. if compensation was negotiated with the applicant for employment and an offer of employment was made, the potential employer may ask or inquire or confirm the wage or salary history of that applicant
  3. That an employer requires, as a condition of employment or as a condition of permanence in employment , that an employee or applicant to refrain from asking , discussing , requesting or disclosing information about his salary , or the salary of another employee performing comparable work .
  4. An employer to terminate, threaten, discriminate or otherwise retaliate against an employee with respect to the terms, conditions, compensation, location, benefits or privileges of employment because the employee has : (i) disclosed his salary or asked about or discussed the salary of other employees; (ii) objected to any act or practice declared illegal by this Act; (iii) filed a complaint or claim under this Act before any forum ; or (iv) offered or attempted to offer, verbally or in writing, any testimony, expression or information as part of an investigation against the employer for violation is to the provisions of this Act.

Nothing in this Article shall require an employer to disclose an employee's salary to another employee or a third party.

It is important that employers in Puerto Rico seek the advice of their legal counsel regarding their obligations to this legislation.

Link to the Puerto Rico Legislation: (choose law No. 16)
http://www.oslpr.org/v2/LeyesPopUpEn.aspx?yr=2017

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