Puerto Rico Enacts Law Extending Maternity Leave to Mothers Adopting Children Ages Six and Older

On August 8, 2020, Puerto Rico Governor Hon. Wanda Vázquez Garced signed into law House Bill No. 2424 (“Bill No. 2424”), to amend the Puerto Rico Working Mothers Protection Act, otherwise known as Act 3 of March 13, 1942 (“Act No. 3-1942”). The purpose of Bill No. 2424 is to extend the right to maternity leave to working mothers who adopt children six years of age and older. Pursuant to Act No. 54 of March 10, 2000, which amended the Working Mothers Act, 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.

The new law amends Section 2 of Act No. 3-1942 to add that working mothers who adopt children six years of age or older will be entitled to up to five weeks of maternity leave. Notably, Bill 2424 does not condition the five-week leave entitlement on the child’s school enrolment status and does not extend the right to the leave to working fathers.

In adoption cases, 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. In order to be entitled to adoption leave, the employee must notify the employer at least 30 days in advance of her intention: (1) to adopt a child; (2) to make use of maternity leave; and (3) (expectation) to be reinstated to her job. The employee must submit the necessary documentation evidencing the adoption procedures.

The amendment made by Bill No. 2424 was effective immediately upon its approval on August 8, 2020.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.