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Employers can report employees getting jobless benefits and refuse to return to work

The heads of two Puerto Rico government agencies announced the availability of a website through which employers can blow the whistle on employees who refuse to return to their posts because they are receiving jobless benefits.

In a press conference, the secretaries of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce and the Department of Labor and Human Services — Manuel Cidre and Carlos Rivera-Santiago — warned that employees who are reported may stop receiving unemployment benefits.

“Employers who ceased operations or reduced the number of staff hired temporarily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or related economic circumstances, may inform us through the website about able workers who refuse to return to their job to instead continue receiving compensation from the Labor Department,” said Rivera-Santiago.

“As part of the protocol, our staff will preventively stop disbursement of funds until the investigation is complete. On the other hand, the claimant will have the right to challenge the process through our Appeals Division,” he said, noting that the effort seeks to strengthen the local economy and get more people to enter the labor market in compliance with federal regulation.

“Never in the history of Puerto Rico have we had so much money to rebuild the island to such extent,” Cidre said.

“As the vaccination process moves forward and the gradual opening of sectors becomes more flexible, it’s essential that the most important sector of economic development, our human resource, be inserted along with the expected growth,” Cidre said.

“Puerto Rico has been fortunate to receive several federal and state incentives that have mitigated the impact of the pandemic, and for that we’re grateful,” said Cidre. “However, we have received concerns from most of the island’s productive sectors that need human resources in their respective businesses.”

Cidre urged employers who have job positions available to call their employees back.

“We also strongly request that employees go back to work if they’re available to do so. Puerto Rico has the table set for an orderly reconstruction that allows us, among other things, to improve our infrastructure and our quality of life,” Cidre said.

“Manufacturing businesses, retail sales, professional offices and services, among others, need to return to normality to offer care and service to their customers. We all have to come together to create the Puerto Rico that we want and deserve,” Cidre said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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