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.
On November 13, 2023, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi signed Act No. 129-2023, increasing the duration of maternity leave for government employees. The new Act amends various laws that regulate this leave in the public sector.1
Specifically, Act No. 129-2023 increases maternity leave to 16 weeks: 4 weeks for prenatal leave, 8 weeks after birth and 4 additional weeks for childcare. A pregnant employee may choose to use only one week of prenatal leave and use the remaining weeks after giving birth. If a pregnant employee experiences premature birth, they are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave from the date of birth and an additional 4 weeks of childcare. Moreover, if the pregnant employee uses the first 4 weeks of prenatal leave without giving birth, they are entitled to an extended prenatal maternity leave, paid in full, until they give birth. In these cases, the employee is entitled to 8 weeks of postpartum leave from the date of birth and an additional 4 weeks for childcare.
On the other hand, if an employee suffers the loss of a newborn prior to the end of their leave, the employee is entitled to claim only the remainder of the post-partum period that completes the first 12 weeks of unused maternity leave, without the additional 4 weeks allowed for childcare.
Additionally, leave is also increased for government employees who chose to adopt. If a woman adopts a minor 5 years of age or younger who is not enrolled in an educational institution, she is entitled to the same maternity benefits leave as an employee who has given birth, as described above.2 If they, however, adopt a minor 6 years of age or older, they are entitled to paid maternity leave of 15 days.
1 Act No. 26 of April 29, 2017, known as the Compliance with the Fiscal Plan Act, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 3 § 9474 et seq, and the and Article 3 of Act No. 9 of January 2019, known as the Bill of Rights of the Working Woman Act, as amended, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 29 § 510(n).
2 While adoption leave is available for men as well, this new law does not amend that specific section of Act No. 26-2017.