[JURIST] Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello [official Twitter] signed into law on Thursday a heavily-debated labor reform bill [materials, in Spanish]. The bill, known as the Labor Transformation and Flexibility Act, was enacted to stimulate the economy and create employment, but critics have raised concern that it infringes on workers’ rights. The law provides for flex-time work schedules and daily overtime rates at time-and-a-half. However, it also places a reduced limit on Christmas bonuses, caps the amount of damages attainable in employment discrimination cases and reduces the amount of time to file an unjust dismissal or wage claim. Rossello was sworn into office on Monday and is taking swift moves to bring the island out of economic crisis including a 12 percent unemployment rate.
Labor issues and workers rights have been at issue worldwide. The Supreme Court of Missouri ruled [JURIST] this month that the Kansas City Board of Commissioners must place a minimum wage proposal on the upcoming ballot. Also in January the Sixth Circuit recently waded into uncharted waters with its decision to uphold a Kentucky county right to work ordinance, rejecting [JURIST op-ed] the firmly grounded understanding of the language of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Starting on January 1, French companies are now required [JURIST report] to guarantee employees a “right to disconnect” from technology, in an effort to combat the “always-on” mentality pervading our modern workforce. In November a judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] blocking an overtime reform rule that was to be implemented next week.