Puerto Rico enacts Equal Pay Act
On March 8 2017, Puerto Rico passed the Equal Pay Act. This law was created for the purpose of establishing a fair public policy of equal pay for equal work in order to eradicate the existing wage discrimination between employees of the public, and private sector, on the basis of sex.
Although modeled after the Federal Equal Pay Act, this act goes further. It limits instances in which employers can inquire into an applicant’s salary history, pending certain circumstances. This helps because many employers take advantage of this information, in order to minimize women employee’s salaries. This law helps get rid of this cruel cycle from the hiring process.
If pay discrimination is established, or their is evidence for it, this act remedies this discrimination. It remedies it through rewarding the employee with entitlements, or financial rewards. It can penalize the employer through various methods, but mostly through financial means.
This act authorizes The Puerto Rican Department of Labor to receive and investigate complaints regarding violations of the act and can file legal actions on behalf of employees. The Puerto Rico Women’s Advocate Office is also empowered to receive complaints, refer them to the Department of Labor and take additional measures authorized by its enabling statute, when deemed appropriate.
Unfortunately, there is still inequality against women in the workplace. Monitoring and implementing public policies in favor of women will contribute to the development of a just and equitable society. Women will have access to better working conditions and real opportunities for progress. These policies will lead to an environment of social justice and equity that improves the quality of life of all our women, as well as our society in general.