7 September 20232 minute read

Proposed Puerto Rico law would expand protections for employees aged 60 or over who are laid off

On August 9, 2023, Senator Rosamar Trujillo Plumey presented Proposed Senate Bill 1277 (P. del S. 1277), which seeks to amend Act No. 80 of May 30, 1976 (Act 80), known as the Puerto Rico Unjust Dismissal Act. Act 80 regulates private-sector dismissals and layoffs, providing a severance indemnity to employees terminated without just cause. 

P. del S. 1277 seeks to include new protections for “elder persons,” defined as those age 60 or over, who are laid off because of economic reasons attributable to their employer. Among the protections provided are payment plans and a 180-day moratorium on home mortgage payments, rent payments, and electric and water utility payments. 

Specific proposed amendments

P. del S. 1277 would add a new article, Article 3-B, to Act 80, specifying the protections available to elder persons laid off due to factors stated in subparagraphs (d), (e), and (f) of Article 2 – namely, instances where employees must be laid off due to a business closing entirely, temporarily, or partially; due to technological changes or reorganization; or due to a reduction in work volume and earnings, respectively. 

The 180-day moratorium is applicable to all creditors of home mortgage payments, rent payments, and electric and water utility payments, subject to the agreement of a reasonable payment plan. Reasonableness is determined by the senior citizen’s economic capacity. The protection would last for the entirety of the 180-day term or until the elder person regains the financial capacity they had prior to being laid off, whichever comes first.

Next steps

If P. del S. 1277 is approved in the Senate, it will then pass to the House of Representatives for voting and approval. If approved, it would then be referred to the Governor for signature or veto. We will continue to monitor developments.

In the meantime, please contact Janine Guzman or your usual DLA Piper attorney if you have question about Puerto Rico employment issues.