Employment at will refers to the presumption that both, employers and workers can terminate their employment relationship at any time, without notice and without cause, so long as it is not prohibited by a particular law (e.g. discriminatory reasons such as age, sex or race). This historical approach does not apply in Puerto Rico.
Here, the employment laws are different. Local law 80 (wrongful discharge/termination) varies the employment at will doctrine by including a statutory penalty in the form of a severance payment. This means that employers in Puerto Rico are free to terminate employees without cause as long as they pay a severance (and no additional laws are breached, such as anti-discrimination statutes).
The severance under Act 80 depends on the years of service. If the individual was employed for less than five years, he/she is entitled to the equivalent of two month’s pay plus one week of pay for each completed year of service; for employees who completed at least five but less than fifteen years of service, severance equals three months’ pay plus two weeks per year of service; and if more than fifteen years of service, the individual is entitled to receive six months’ pay plus three weeks per completed year of service.