- Body: P.R. House of Representatives.
- Filing date: August 30, 2021.
- Author: representative Denis Márquez Lebrón.
Status: On March 21, 2022, it was approved by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate. On March 29, 2022, it was referred to the Women’s Affairs Commission and to the Human Rights and Labor Affairs Commission.
Act No. 3 of March 13, 1942, as amended, known as “The Working Mothers Protection Act of 1942” (“Act No. 3”) does not define the term “weeks”. Therefore, the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources defined such term in their regulations to administer Act No. 3 as a period of seven (7) consecutive days. The House of Representatives finds that this interpretation harms the rights of the working class and, through Bill No. 0951, seeks to clarify that only working days should be included in the calculation of the maternity leave, excluding weekends and holidays.
Bill 0951 would amend Act No.3 by exchanging the term “weeks” for “working days” when explaining the resting period that the worker is entitled to. If a consensus is reached, section two of Act No. 3 would establish that pregnant workers have the right to rest for 28 working days before their delivery date and 28 working days after giving birth, for a total of 56 working days.
Currently, section two of Act No. 3 establishes that the pregnant worker has a right to four weeks of prenatal rest and four weeks of postnatal rest, for a total of eight weeks. As stated by the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources, a week is a period of seven consecutive days, meaning that there are 56 days in eight weeks.
The proposed change would provide a higher compensation to the employee given that the employer would be obligated to pay a total of 56 working days. Also, by stating that the employee is entitled to rest for 56 working days, the maternity period would be longer, because weekends and holidays are not included in the “working days” term.
The Employment and Benefits practice area at SMC welcomes current and future client’s inquiries related to Act No. 3. Feel free to contact us at your convenience at (787) 765-5656.