Puerto Rico

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The following are considered hours worked as per Puerto Rico Working Hour Regulation:

      • Hours that an employee works for his employer in excess of eight (8) hours during any calendar day. Nonetheless, the employer may notify the employee of an alternate twenty-four (24)-hour cycle, provided, that the notification is made in writing and within a term not less than 5 days prior to the start of the alternate cycle and that there are eight (8) hours between consecutive shifts.
      • Hours that an employee works for his employer in excess of forty (40) hours during any workweek.
      • Hours that an employee works for his employer during the days or hours in which the establishment should remain closed to the public by a legal provision. However, hours worked on Sundays, when the establishment should remain closed to the public by the provision of law, shall not be considered overtime hours for the mere reason of being worked during that period. Hours that an employee works for his employer in excess of the maximum number of working hours a day fixed in a collective bargaining agreement.

For the purpose of computing the hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours, the workweek shall constitute a period of one hundred and sixty-eight (168) consecutive hours. The workweek shall begin on the day and time that the employer determines and notifies to the employee in writing. If there is no notice, the workweek shall begin every Monday at 12:01 a.m. Once the employer establishes the beginning of the workweek, any change must be notified to the employee within at least five (5) calendar days in advance in order to be effective.

Overtime

Any employer who employs or allows an employee to work overtime shall be required to pay such employee for each extra hour, greater rights or benefits who were hired prior to the effective date of the ‘Labor Transformation and Flexibility Act’ shall maintain said rights or benefits. An alternate weekly work schedule may be established, through a written agreement between the employee and the employer, which shall allow for the employee to complete a workweek not to exceed forty (40) hours, with daily shifts that shall not exceed ten (10) hours per work day. However, if the employee works more than ten (10) hours in a workday, the hours shall be paid at a rate of one and one-half times the regular pay rate.

 

For the purpose of computing the hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours, the workweek shall constitute a period of one hundred and sixty-eight (168) consecutive hours. The workweek shall begin on the day and time that the employer determines and notifies to the employee in writing. If there is no notice, the workweek shall begin every Monday at 12:01 a.m. Once the employer establishes the beginning of the workweek, any change must be notified to the employee within at least five (5) calendar days in advance in order to be effective

 

The employer may approve an employee’s request to make-up for work time lost in a week due to personal reasons. Hours thus worked shall not be considered overtime when these are worked during the same week of the absence, are not in excess of twelve (12) hours in a day, and are not in excess of forty (40) hours in a week.

 

Breaks

All employees of any commercial or industrial establishment, company or business lucrative or non-profit, including those operated by associations or organizations without pecuniary purposes and charitable institutions will be entitled to a day of rest for every six (6) of work. For the purposes of this Act, it shall be understood as the day of rest a period of twenty-four (24) consecutive hours.

 

Breast Feeding Break

The period granted to breastfeed or to express breast milk is hereby regulated by granting working mothers who return to work after enjoying maternity leave the opportunity to nurse their children for an hour during each full-time working day, a period which may be divided into two (2) thirty (30)-minute sessions or three (3) twenty (20)-minute sessions, to go where the child to be breastfed is being cared for, should the company or employer have a child care center in its facilities, or to express breast milk at the place provided for such purposes in the workplace. Said places shall guarantee nursing mothers privacy, safety, and hygiene. Said place must have electrical outlets and ventilation. If the employee is working on a part-time basis and the working day exceeds four (4) hours, the period granted shall be thirty (30) minutes for every consecutive four (4)-hour working period.

 

In the case of businesses considered as small businesses in accordance with the size regulations of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), these shall be required to provide breastfeeding mothers with a period of at least one-half (1/2) hour during each full-time working day to breastfeed or express breast milk, which period may be divided into two (2) fifteen (15)-minute periods each. If the employee is working on a part-time basis and the working day exceeds four (4) hours, the period granted shall be thirty (30) minutes for every consecutive four (4)-hour working period.

Work On Rest Days

Any employer who employs or allows an employee to work on the day of rest shall be required to pay said employee for the hours worked during such day of rest at a compensation rate equal to 1.5 times the regular rates of pay agreed on, provided, that employees entitled to greater benefits prior to the effective date of the ‘Labor Transformation and Flexibility Act,’ shall keep said benefits

Annual Leave

Every employee shall be entitled to a minimum vacation leave accrual after working at least one hundred and thirty (130) hours a month. The minimum monthly vacation leave accrual rate shall be one-half (1/2) day during the first year of service; three-fourths (3/4) of a day after the first year of service up to the fifth (5) year of service; one (1) day after the fifth year of service up to the fifteenth (15) year of service; and one and one-fourth (1 1/4) of a day after the fifteenth (15) year of service.

 

The leave time for vacations and illness will accumulate based on the day regular work in the month in which the accumulation occurred. For employees whose schedules fluctuate, the regular workday will be determined by dividing the total regular hours worked in the month between the total days worked. For the employees whose work schedules cannot be determined will be computed at basis of eight (8) regular hours. The vacation leave time will be used and paid on the basis of the regular workday at the time of use or payment of the benefit. For these purposes, a period not exceeding two (2) months before use or pay the benefit.

 

Vacation shall be paid on the basis of an amount which is not less than the regular hourly wage earned by the employee in the month the leave was accrued. For employees who receive commissions or other incentives that are not at the full discretion of the employer, the total commissions or incentives earned for the year, can be divided by fifty-two (52) weeks, to compute the regular hourly wage. If employees receive tips for their services or if the employer shares, in whole or in part, service charges with his employees, the payment of vacation leave shall be made on the basis of the legal minimum wage or the regular hourly wage agreed on for such benefits, whichever is higher. By agreement between the employer and the employee, you can accumulate up to two (2) years of vacation leave. The employer who does not grant vacations after, if said maximum is accumulated, it must grant the total accumulated until then, paying the employee two (2) times the corresponding salary for the period in excess of the said maximum.

Minimum Wage

Employees covered by Puerto Rico’s minimum wage law must be paid $7.25 an hour.

Tips & Gratuities

Employers of employees who regularly receive $30 a month or more in tips can claim a tip credit of up to $5.12 an hour; the minimum wage for these employees is $2.13 an hour. If an employee’s hourly average of tips plus wages is less than $7.25 an hour, the employer must make up the difference. If a state does not allow for a tip credit or has a tip credit amount that is less than the federal tip credit amount, employers in that state generally must apply the state amount that provides employees the greater benefit. If an employer has a tip-back arrangement with employees, such that employees are required to give or credit their tips to their employer as gross receipts, these tips cannot be credited under the FLSA and the employees must be paid at least a full minimum wage.

Meal Breaks

Employees shall be provided with meal break every 1 hour, after the end of 3rd but before the beginning of 6th consecutive hour worked. Double-time pay required for work during meal hour or fraction thereof. An employer is required to grant all non-exempt employees a meal period commencing not before the end of the third hour of work and not later than before the beginning of the sixth hour of work. An employee should never be required to work more than five consecutive hours without pausing for a meal period. If an employee is required or permitted to work during his or her meal period, or if the period is enjoyed outside the time frame mentioned above, the employee will be entitled to payment at twice his or her regular rate. This penalty is independent of overtime requirements.

 

A meal period must be for one hour unless the employer and the employee mutually agree to reduce it. A reduction of the time of the meal period must be for the mutual benefit of the employer and the employee, and said reduction must be stipulated in writing. A reduced meal period cannot be for less than 30 minutes, except in the cases of nurses, security guards, and croupiers, where it may be reduced to 20 minutes. Non-exempt employees are also entitled to a second meal period after five consecutive hours of work after the previous meal period. The time of this second meal period may also be reduced.

 

Furthermore, if the employee works only two hours or less of daily overtime, the second meal period may be waived by the employee if it is for the mutual benefit of the employee and the employer and it is so stipulated in writing. The employer who requires or allows an employee to work for a period longer than five (5) consecutive hours, without providing a meal period, must pay the employee an extraordinary compensation for the time worked. In the event that the total number of hours worked by the employee during the day does not exceed six (6) hours, the meal period may be waived. The meal period shall not begin before the conclusion of the second hour, or after the sixth consecutive hour of work begins. An employer shall not employ an employee for a work period that exceeds ten (10) hours per day without providing an employee a second meal period except when the total number of hours worked does not exceed twelve (12) hours. In cases in which the total of hours worked does not exceed twelve (12) hours, the second meal period may be waived provided that the employee took the first meal period.

 

Agreements to reduce the meal period shall be valid indefinitely and neither party may withdraw his consent to what was stipulated, without the consent of the other, until one (1) year after the agreements’ effectiveness.

Special Leave

Sick Leave
Every employee shall be entitled to a minimum sick leave accrual after working at least one hundred and thirty (130) hours a month. The minimum monthly sick leave accrual rate shall be one-half (1/2) day during the first year of service; three-fourths (3/4) of a day after the first year of service up to the fifth (5) year of service; one (1) day after the fifth year of service up to the fifteenth (15) year of service; and one and one-fourth (1 1/4) of a day after the fifteenth (15) year of service.
Sick leave not used by the employee during the course of the year it will be accumulated for successive years up to a maximum of fifteen (15) days. Except in cases of force majeure, the employee must notify his employer the fact of his illness as soon as it is foreseeable that he will miss the regular schedule from the beginning of his work and no later than the same day of his absence. Employees may use the accumulated days for the concept of the sick leave, up to a maximum of five (5) days and provided that maintain a balance of five (5) days, to attend:
      • The care and attention due to the illness of children, your spouse, his mother or father; or
      • The care and attention due to the illness of minors, elderly persons advanced or with disabilities over which you have custody or legal guardianship. This will not apply to businesses with fifteen (15) employees or less.

The enjoyment of sick leave does not excuse compliance with those norms of conduct validly established by the employer, such as those of attendance, punctuality, medical certifications if the absence exceeds two (2) working days and periodic reports on the continuation of the disease.

Voting Leave

The right of employees to be allowed by their employers, either public or private, to exercise their right to vote without impediment. It shall be the obligation of every employer whose business operations remain active on election day to establish working shifts that allow employees to go to their corresponding polling place during the hours in which it is open for voting, and for employees to be granted the time that is reasonably necessary to exercise their right to vote, considering, among other factors, the distance between their workplace and the polling center.

Maternity Leave

Effective July 19, 2018, workers in a pregnant state will be entitled to a rest that will include four (4) weeks before delivery and four (4) weeks later. The worker may choose for taking only one week of prenatal rest and extending up to seven (7) weeks the postnatal rest to which it has right whenever its employer is presented a Medical certification proving that you are able to work up to a week before the delivery.

 

Provided that any employee who adopts a minor of preschool age, understand, a child under five (5) years old or younger who is not enrolled in a school institution in accordance with the legislation and legal procedures in force in Puerto Rico, will be entitled to the same maternity leave benefits enjoyed by the employee who gives birth. In this case, the license will start counting from the date when the minor is received in the family nucleus.

 

Provided, that the working mother may request that she be allowed to Return to work after the first two (2) weeks of post-natal rest when she presents the employer with a medical certificate certifying that the worker is in working conditions. In this case, the worker will be considered as renouncing the other weeks of postnatal rest to which you are entitled. When it is wrongly estimated probable date of delivery and the woman has enjoyed four (4) weeks of rest.

Caregiver Leave

Employers can require employees to provide medical certification if they need more than two days of sick leave to care for family members.

Catastrophic Illness Leave

Effective Feb. 20, 2018, employers can require employees to provide medical certification from their treating health-care professional regarding their diagnosis and continuing medical treatment for a catastrophic illness. Employers must keep this information private and confidential in accordance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Military Leave

All officers or employees of private enterprise who are members of the Military Forces of Puerto Rico shall be entitled to military leaves of absence from their respective posts or employment without loss of time or efficiency rating during the period they were engaged in military service as part of their annual period of training or to comply with any call for Commonwealth Active Military Service made to members of the Military Forces of Puerto Rico.

Jury Service Leave

Employers must allow employees to take paid leave upon subpoena to appear as witnesses in court proceedings. Employees must provide reasonable advance notice of their need for leave. Employers cannot penalize employees for taking court attendance leave. Employers must allow employees to take paid or unpaid leave to serve as jurors. Employers cannot discharge employees because they take jury duty leave.

Last updated on: June 11th, 2019