Global Compliance Desk – Puerto Rico

Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Harassment, and Assault

A new leave statute applicable to public and private employers was signed into law by Ricardo Rosselló signed into law as Act No. 83 (“Act 83” or “the Act”) on August 1, 2019. The law went into effect immediately. Act 83, in general terms, provides employees with 15 days of unpaid leave per year for instances of gender or domestic violence, abuse of minors, sexual harassment in employment, sexual assault, lewd acts or aggravated stalking.

The new “Special Leave” is in addition to any other leave to which the employee might be entitled under the law. The victim need not file a police report to be entitled to take Special Leave. The perpetrator of the abusive conduct is not entitled to take leave under the new law. 

Leave for Association with a Victim of Abuse

Employees may take Special Leave when the victims are their family members. Covered family members include:

  • Children;
  • Spouses;
  • Partners united by an affective relationship;
  • Parents; and
  • Minors, persons of advanced age, or with disabilities over which the employee has custody or guardianship.

Use of Leave
An employee may use Special Leave to:

  • Seek advice and obtain a restraining order or court order;
  • Seek and obtain legal assistance; and
  • Seek and obtain safe housing or space in a shelter.

Leave time may be taken on a fractioned or intermittent basis. The employee is not entitled to carry over unused leave from prior years.

Supporting Documentation
An employer may request supporting documentation detailing the time spent by the employee addressing the circumstances needing Special Leave. The employee must provide the documentation within a reasonable period, but no later than two business days after the employee’s last absence under the Special Leave. Employers may not require evidence of a conviction or arrest as a condition of use. The law provides the following examples of documents an employee may submit:

  • A restraining order;
  • Documentation under the letterhead of a court, agency, public or private service provider that assisted in an incident of abuse;
  • A police report;
  • Documentation evidencing the offender’s conduct;
  • Documentation of medical treatment received by the employee or family member as a result of the abuse;
  • Certification by a therapist, certified counselor, religious leader, shelter director, attorney, or other qualified professionals who assisted the employee or family member as a result of the abuse;
  • A sworn statement provided by another employee who witnessed the abuse to the employee or family member;
  • Any other document that credibly reflects that the employee was making arrangements for themselves or a family member victim of abuse.

Reasonable Accommodation
Employees may request reasonable accommodation or flexible work conditions to address an abuse situation. Any request must be in writing and may be denied only if it is “unreasonable” and only after evaluating all the possible accommodation for the employee.

Notification of Need for Special Leave
Generally, an employee must provide at least two business days’ notice, unless the circumstances do not permit earlier notification. Notice may be provided by the employee, family, therapist, certified counselor, religious leader, shelter director, attorney, or other qualified professionals who have assisted the employee or family member as a result of the abuse. Notice may be provided by fax, in person, by email, in writing, or any other reliable method of communication.

Job Protection
Employees have a right under the law to be restored to their employment when the Special Leave has been exhausted. Failure to provide reinstatement entitles the employee to a claim for back pay and damages.

Confidentiality
Documents submitted or produced in relation to the Special Leave must be kept confidential. However, the law provides an exception for responding to a subpoena or request from a government entity. Any documentation submitted by the employee must be filed in the employee’s personnel file under seal.

Shreya Bhattacharya
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shreya Bhattacharya
A labor and employment lawyer at Replicon who specializes in global compliance. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. Replicon is an industry leader in global compliance and has a dedicated team which pro-actively monitors international labor regulations for ensuring proper adherence with specific country rule requirements.
Get started today.
Set up a free trial based on your business needs. Start Free Trial

Exploring The 3rd Wave Of Resourcing At The Resource Management Global Symposium

Optimal resource management is often the key to profitability and sustainable growth for any project-based organization. Unfortunately, with rapid changes at the workplace, the labor markets, and industry conditions, managing…Read More

17 Reasons Women Make Great Leaders

Gender shouldn’t determine an individual’s leadership abilities. Instead, organizations must assess leadership potential by evaluating individual strengths and personality traits. However, often, women aren’t encouraged to assume leadership roles as…Read More

4 Key Steps To Achieve Digital Acceleration For Professional Services Organizations

Today’s world is rapidly moving into a technological era, and seemingly at an increasing pace. It has become imperative for professional services organizations to jump on the digital transformation bandwagon…Read More

Time and Attendance Orientation Guide

In a growing business, the day will eventually come when managing time and attendance on paper becomes both inefficient and risky, especially when trying to balance things like overtime, paid…Read More

Using shared services? These five technologies are a must

As organizations continue to scrutinize operating costs and look for areas to drive efficiencies, shared services centers (SSCs) are a no-brainer. The concept of a multi-function SSC has been around…Read More

Employee time tracking is dead

iBeacons, Bluetooth Low Energy, Proximity sensing and the obsolescence of time tracking as we know it. Businesses have to track the time their employees work for a variety of reasons,…Read More
  • Polaris
  • Time & Project Insights
  • Time & Projects Solutions
  • Replicon Products
  • Replicon Users
  • Enterprise Time Tracking
  • Thought Leadership
  • Cloud
  • Corporate
  • Professional Services Management
  • Shared Services Management
  • Time and Attendance Management
  • Customer Feature
  • Time Intelligence
  • Industry News
  • Global Compliance Updates
  • Others