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Puerto Rico Labor Dept. announces Christmas bonus guidelines

Puerto Rico Labor Secretary Gabriel Maldonado-González is urging private sector employers to prepare for the Christmas bonus payment and reminded those seeking exemption this year to submit their request by Nov. 30 at one of the department’s Labor Standards Bureau offices, in person or by mail.

“In this highly competitive labor market, we encourage private sector employers to offer the best possible benefits to their employees, as long as their finances allow it, in order to have the necessary workforce,” Maldonado-González said. “However, Act 148 of June 30, 1969, as amended, known as the Private Enterprise Bonus Act, provides private employers with the option to request an exemption from the payment of the Christmas bonus, and it is essential that in such a situation, they plan ahead and submit the required documentation before the deadline.” 

The secretary said his agency must “conduct a thorough evaluation and determine if the request is indeed warranted,” and that employers need to “communicate with their employees” about a potential exemption, “as it could affect them if it is determined that the company suffered economic losses or had insufficient profits to cover the total bonus without exceeding 15% of the annual net earnings.”

Employers can find details on submitting the exemption request and access the required form via this link. If mailing, ensure the postmark is dated Nov. 30 or before. For in-person submissions, the agency’s date and time stamp will confirm timely delivery, the department said.

Exemption request requirements
Among the exemption request requirements are a legibly handwritten form and a compiled, reviewed, or audited financial statement of earnings and losses. This statement must be signed, sealed (with the Puerto Rico Certified Public Accountants Society stamp), and issued by a CPA licensed by the Puerto Rico Board of Accountancy, reflecting the economic situation from Oct.1, 2022, to Sept. 30, 2023.

If an employer’s fiscal year does not end on Sept. 30, it can submit its fiscal year’s financial statement. The statement also needs to be audited, signed and sealed (with the CPA Society stamp) by a CPA. Employers must also include interim financial statements up to Sept. 30, which do not require CPA verification.

The Private Enterprise Bonus Act mandates the bonus be paid between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15.

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