Informal Caregivers in Puerto Rico Do Not Need to Satisfy Threshold Requirements for Requesting Work Schedule Changes

Pursuant to the recently enacted Act No. 82 of August 8, 2023, employers in Puerto Rico must consider an informal caregiver’s request for a work-schedule change without meeting some of the threshold requirements required by law. Act No. 82, Puerto Rico’s Informal Caregiver Public Policy Act (ICPPA), purports to address the growing number of adults in need of care. To achieve this aim, the ICPPA establishes a public policy favoring informal caregivers and sets forth a bill of rights for the group.

The ICPPA defines an informal caregiver as a natural person who assists and supports a person in one or more of the essential activities of daily life without receiving remuneration. Notably, this definition does not apply to parents or legal guardians taking care of minors whose necessities coincide with those normally associated with their developmental stage.

Having defined an informal caregiver and the essential activities of daily life, the ICPPA delegates enforcement to Puerto Rico’s Department of Family, which is tasked with enacting the corresponding regulations. More specifically, the Department of Family is tasked with creating, maintaining, and certifying information from the Informal Caregiver Registry. The Department of Family will register an informal caregiver who applies and qualifies for said designation, and will certify their membership, among other matters.

Relevant to employers, once a person is a registered informal caregiver, they may request a work-schedule change without satisfying the threshold requirements provided by Act No. 379 of May 15, 1948. Act no. 379 provides that an employee who works more than 30 hours a week and has worked for the employer for at least one year, may request a change in work schedule. The employer and employee then engage in a standardized process provided by Act No. 379. The ICPPA allows a registered informal caregiver to request a change in work schedule without having to satisfy the work-hour or retention requirements. In order to bypass these requirements, the employee must show the certificate issued by the Department of Family.

Although the ICPPA is effective immediately, to the extent that the Department of Family has yet to issue any corresponding regulations, employers will likely not have to address any requests by registered informal caregivers yet. We will keep a watchful eye for any regulations from the Department of Family implementing the ICPPA. Stay tuned.

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.