Calle San Jose in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, where you may wish to hire staff via a PEO (photo: Jose Santiago / Unsplash)

Hire Staff via a PEO in Puerto Rico

If you are interested in doing business in Puerto Rico, but are only planning a short-term or limited-scale operation, or would like to get to know the market better before making a larger commitment, you may find that hiring staff via a professional employer organization (PEO) is your best option. 

When you take on employees through a PEO in Puerto Rico, you control their schedules and workloads, while handing the administrative burden over to the PEO firm.

For non-US investors, that is particularly appealing because it means they can work in the local market without having to go through company formation in Puerto Rico. A PEO in Puerto Rico may also be called an employer of record (EOR).

Recruit and attract the best talent for your company. If you are looking for entrepreneurship in Latin America, Biz Latin Hub is your ally to hire the human talent you need.
Recruit and attract the best talent for your company. If you are looking for entrepreneurship in Latin America, Biz Latin Hub is your ally to hire the human talent you need. PEO in Puerto Rico.

Situated in the Caribbean, between the Dominican Republic and the US Virgin Islands, the US territory of Puerto Rico had a population of 3.82 million in 2021. That year, the island registered a gross domestic product (GDP) of $104.99 billion and a gross national income (GNI) of $21,970 — a prosperity marker higher than any mainland Latin American nation. This contributes to the high influx of foreign investment and market entry, creating high-demand for the services of aPEO in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico has a highly industrialized economy, with industry contributing more than 50% of GDP in 2018, and the services sector accounting for slightly less. The agriculture sector generated less than 1% of GDP that year.

That means the country has a ready supply of manufacturing workers, while it is also home to a growing startup sector, providing skilled workers for the tech industry.

Puerto Rico has seen growing interest among international investors over recent years, with foreign direct investment (FDI) rising over recent years, especially from the likes of Canada, Germany, Mexico, and Spain. Sectors that particularly attract investment include telecommunications, IT and tech services, and manufacturing.If you are interested in doing business in the Puerto Rican market, read on to understand the benefits of using a PEO in Puerto Rico, as well as some of the legal requirements your PEO firm will assume responsibility for. Or go ahead and contact us now to discuss your business needs.

What is a PEO?

A PEO in Puerto Rico (professional employer organization) is a third-party organization that provides comprehensive HR (human resources) services to businesses. PEOs act as co-employers, sharing employer responsibilities with the client company. They handle various HR functions, including payroll, benefits administration, employee onboarding and offboarding, compliance with employment laws, risk management, and other administrative tasks.

When a company partners with a PEO in Puerto Rico, they enter into a co-employment relationship. This means that the PEO takes on certain employment responsibilities, such as payroll processing and tax filing, while the client company retains control over day-to-day operations and retains ownership of the business.

One of the key advantages of partnering with a PEO is that it allows small and medium-sized businesses to access cost-effective HR services and expertise that they might not have in-house. PEOs often leverage their purchasing power to offer competitive employee benefits packages, which can help attract and retain talented employees. Additionally, a PEO in Puerto Rico can provide guidance on compliance with employment laws and regulations, which can be complex and time-consuming for businesses to navigate on their own.

In summary, a PEO is a professional organization that helps businesses outsource and streamline their HR functions, enabling them to focus on their core operations while ensuring compliance and providing comprehensive HR support.

¨Puerto Rico GDP¨ infographic by Biz Latin Hub for an article on ¨PEO in Puerto Rico¨.
The GDP of the nation could impact your interest in PEO in Puerto Rico

Benefits of using a PEO in Puerto Rico

One of the advantages of hiring through a PEO is cost savings. The fees you pay the PEO firm are typically much lower than the expenses involved in forming a company, hiring staff, and managing payroll and compliance obligations.

Avoiding company formation also brings time savings. With a PEO in Puerto Rico, you can quickly find suitable candidates and hire them without the need to establish a legal entity. It takes only a few days after signing the services agreement.

Another  advantage of hiring through a PEO in Puerto Rico is the limited commitment it entails.  If you choose to discontinue operations, you can swiftly exit the market by offboarding outsourced employees, without the need for company liquidation.

Hiring through a PEO in Puerto Rico provides access to local knowledge and a better understanding of the market, regulatory requirements, and business culture. This allows you to make informed decisions before making a deeper commitment.

Additionally, your PEO in Puerto Rico will have an established recruitment network to assist in finding suitable staff. Moreover, they will have strong connections within the local business community, which can provide additional benefits to your business.Finally, by signing a service agreement with a PEO in Puerto Rico, you can enjoy the guarantee of compliance with all local regulations and norms. This ensures that your business remains in good standing with local authorities, giving you peace of mind.

Managing and ensuring compliance of the legal requirements that come with hiring employees in Puerto Rico is a big part of the responsibility of a PEO. As part of the guaranteed compliance that your PEO in Puerto Rico will provide, some of the legal requirements it will take care of include:

  • Drawing up and registering signed employee contracts.
  • Managing all aspects of payroll, including paying salaries in a timely manner.
  • Adhering to standard daily and weekly working hours as agreed.
  • Honoring all national holidays celebrated in Puerto Rico.
  • Honoring sick and other personal leave entitlements.
  • Meeting statutory employee and employer contributions for social security.
The graphic above highlights when it is best to use a Professional Employer Organization in Chile, or any country. PEO Chile
The graphic above highlights when it is best to use a Professional Employer Organization in Puerto Rico, or any country. PEO in Puerto Rico

How to Use a Payroll Calculator

If you want to get an idea of the possible costs involved in payroll outsourcing in Puerto Rico, using a payroll calculator is one way to get a good estimate.

Use Biz Latin Hub Payroll Calculator for PEO in Puerto Rico.
Use Biz Latin Hub Payroll Calculator for PEO in Puerto Rico.

Although a payroll calculator won’t be completely accurate, it will give you the opportunity to evaluate options while varying the salary, the number of employees, the country you want to enter, and the currency you wish to work in. As such, you will be able to understand your likely costs across a range of salaries, while also being able to compare other countries as potential alternative destinations. 

You can find the BLH payroll calculator at the bottom of our Hiring & PEO Services page. The calculator will allow you to make good estimations of the costs involved in hiring in Latin America and the Caribbean based on country, currency, and salary, with the calculator factoring in local statutory deductions.

To use the BLH payroll calculator, you will need to undertake the following steps:

Step 1: Select the country

Choose the country where you are doing business, or planning to launch. This feature will be useful when it comes to comparing potential alternative markets.

Step 2: Select the currency you wish to deal in

You can choose between US dollars (USD), British Sterling (GBP) and Euros, as well as the local currency for the country you are looking at, compared to what is most convenient for you. Note that for Ecuador, El Salvador, and Panama, the local currency is also USD, as they have dollarized economies.

Step 3: Indicate an employees monthly income

Here you can indicate the expected salary you will be paying an employee, in the currency of your choice.

Step 4: Calculate your estimated costs

Based on all of the information you have provided, you will receive results indicating your estimated costs, including a breakdown for estimated statutory benefits you will be liable for.

Step 5: Compare your costs to other options

With a good estimate at hand of how much your staff in Puerto Rico would be, if you are flexible about your expansion into Latin America and the Caribbean, you can use the BLH payroll calculator to compare those costs to other jurisdictions.

Common FAQs on Hiring Through an Employer of Record (EOR) in Puerto Rico

Based on our extensive experience, these are the common questions and doubts of our clients on hiring through an EOR in Puerto Rico:

1. How does one hire employees in Puerto Rico?

You can hire someone in Paraguay by either setting up your own legal entity in the country and using it for recruitment, or by utilizing the services of an employer of record (EOR). An EOR, which is a third-party entity, allows you to employ individuals in Paraguay while they act as the official employer before the law. When using an EOR, you do not need a Peruvian local entity to hire employees.

2. What is in a standard employment contract in Puerto Rico?

A standard employment contract in Puerto Rico should be written in Spanish (and can also be in English) and outline the terms and conditions of employment to establish a clear understanding between the employer and the employee. Some elements that are typically included in a standard employment contract in Puerto Rico are:

– Parties to the contract.
– Position and responsibilities.
– Employment status.
– Work schedule.
– Compensation.
– Benefits.
– Probationary period.
– Termination clause.
– Confidentiality and non-compete clauses.
– Intellectual property.
– Code of conduct and policies.
– Governing law and Jurisdiction.

3. What are the mandatory employment benefits in Puerto Rico?

The mandatory employment benefits in Puerto Rico are the following:

-Paid Time Off (PTO)
-Meal and Rest Breaks
-Workers’ Compensation
-Unemployment Benefits
-Disability Benefits
-Parental and Maternity Leave

4. What is the total cost for an employer to hire an employee in Puerto Rico?

The total cost for an employer to hire an employee in Puerto Rico varies depending on the salary. However, as an indication,  the employer cost for mandatory employment benefits is approximately 12.2% on top of  the employee’s salary.

Please use our Payroll Calculator to calculate employment costs.

5. How does the employment contract work?

When working with an employer of record (EOR), the contractual handling of the employment relationship is crucial. The EOR serves as the legal employer and needs a contract with the worker, which may or may not include your company. The agreement must be compliant with the law and aligned with your company’s practices across all locations the EOR supports. Contracts vary across territories. Some have detailed tripartite agreements, clearly defining responsibilities, with the EOR handling payments, taxes, and local matters, while you retain policy control. Benefits and statutory requirements should be discussed. When choosing an EOR, examine their template agreements for consistency and consider how they ensure uniformity while complying with local practices.

6. Does the EOR provide payroll compliance and guidance for Puerto Rico?

You do need to ensure that the EOR can provide its services in Puerto Rico. It is also worth checking which other countries they operate in. Not all providers have global advisory services. Hiring one with such services eliminates the need for multiple consultants to manage compliance in all your countries of operation.

Biz Latin Hub Can Be Your PEO in Puerto Rico

At Biz Latin Hub, we can provide the high-quality hiring & PEO services you need to find the right staff and get to work in Puerto Rico in the shortest time possible. With our comprehensive portfolio of back-office solutions, including legal, accounting, and company formation services, we can be your single point of contact for entering the market and operating in Puerto Rico, or any of the 17 countries around Latin America and the Caribbean where we have local teams in place.

Contact us now for personalized assistance or a free quote.

Learn more about our team of expert authors.

Biz Latin Hub offers a range of back-office services, including legal services, hiring & PEO, visa processing, commercial representation, company formation, and accounting & taxation
Key services offered by Biz Latin Hub. PEO in Puerto Rico

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Legal Team Puerto Rico

Legal Team Puerto Rico

Legal Team Puerto Rico is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Rico The Team writes on the news, doing business, law, and changing regulations. The team are experts in corporate law, Administrative law, Employment law, Immigration law and legal advisory services. Read more about them here. You can contact Legal Team Puerto Rico via our "contact us page".

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