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Puerto Rico Amends Maternity Leave & Voting Leave
Amendment to Maternity Leave
Puerto Rico Governor Hon. Wanda Vázquez Garced has signed House Bill No. 2424 which amends the Working Mothers Protection Act on August 8, 2020.
Act No. 54 of March 10, 2000, was earlier amended which stated that female employees were entitled to adoption leave only if they adopted a child age five or younger who was not yet enrolled in school. The 2000 amendment entitled the employee to the same eight-week maternity leave benefit granted to birth mothers.
This Amendment extends the right to maternity leave to working mothers who adopt children six years of age and older. The new law also adds that working mothers who adopt children six years of age or older will be entitled to up to 5 weeks of maternity leave.
For employees who adopt, maternity leave commences on the date on which the adopted child is received by the family, regardless of whether the legal adoption process has been finalized. The employee must notify at least 30 days in advance of her intention to adopt a child, to make use of maternity leave and her expectation to be reinstated to her job.
The amendment became effective on August 8, 2020.
Amendment to Voting Leave
The Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez has recently signed into law New Electoral Code, Act No. 58 of June 20, 2020.
The previous Electoral Code, enacted pursuant to Act No. 78 of June 1, 2011, required employers to give their employees necessary and reasonable unpaid time off during the workday to vote in general elections or primaries.
The amendment states that all public- and private-sector employees who are registered voters and are scheduled to work on a voting date, and the schedules overlap with the opening hours of the polling places, have a right to request the opportunity to vote by mail or in a voting center that allows individuals to vote in advance. Employees who cannot know their work schedule in advance on a voting day will be entitled to a 2-hour paid leave during the workday to vote.
Under the Electoral Code, “voting” includes primaries and other electoral events, such as the ones that began on August 9, 2020, and have not yet concluded. Employers should keep this change in mind when scheduling employees during voting dates.