U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico, today introduced the Economic Mobility for Productive Livelihoods and Expanding Opportunity (EMPLEO) Act, to help grow Puerto Rico’s economy by making it easier for employers to hire workers and giving every worker on the island an immediate pay raise. The bill extends to Puerto Rico Rubio’s nationwide proposal to enact a federal wage enhancement.
“With Puerto Rico’s economy suffering from high unemployment and low wages, it’s hard for many Americans on the island to make ends meet,” said Rubio. “My legislation would help these workers and their families by immediately boosting their pay and reducing the cost of hiring so it’s easier to find a job. By expanding the workforce, increasing opportunity and making work pay more, we can help Puerto Rico get back on the path to growth and prosperity. As a member of the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico, I’m proud to have brought this idea to the table and encourage my colleagues to consider it as we prepare our final report.”
Rubio’s EMPLEO Act would establish an opt-in system by which participating employers disburse pay raises to all employees earning below the median hourly wage in Puerto Rico. Any worker earning less than $10 per hour would receive a raise, up to a maximum of $2.50 per hour. Employers that choose to participate in the program may reduce their share of a worker’s wage to a minimum of $5 per hour, thus reducing the cost of hiring new workers.
The Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico was established under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) of 2016. Since being named to the task force in July, Rubio and his office have held at least 55 meetings with stakeholders. The Task Force final report is due on December 21, 2016.
Congress is expected to adjourn for the year on Friday, December 9th, giving the new Rubio proposal a narrow window to pass this year.