On April 9, 2020, Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced signed the H.B. 2428 into law as part of the Government’s response to the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) emergency. Law No. 37-2020 amends the Puerto Rico Minimum Salary, Vacations and Sick Leave Act (Law No. 180-1998) to provide a special emergency paid leave to eligible employees whenever a state of emergency is declared by the Governor or the Secretary of the Puerto Rico Health Department and only while the state of emergency is in effect.
Pursuant to this new statute, if a covered employee suffers or is suspected to suffer the illness or condition that causes the declaration of a state of emergency, and upon exhausting their accrued sick leave and any other accrued paid leave, they will be entitled to a special emergency paid leave of up to five (5) working days if they remain ill or afflicted with the covered condition and the state of emergency remains in effect. As is the case with sick leave, employers are prohibited from taking the special emergency leave into consideration for disciplinary purposes. The amendment to Law No. 180-1998 became effective immediately upon its enactment. As such and considering that OE-2020-033 is in effect at least until Sunday, May 3, 2020, we encourage you to be vigilant and ensure that you are compliant with this new paid leave should you have an eligible employee. Please note that inasmuch as this is an amendment to Law No. 180-1998, exempt employees (administrators, executives, professionals) are excluded from coverage and accordingly not entitled to this special emergency leave. You may access Law No. 37-2020 here.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the application of this new paid leave to your workforce or operations, please contact any of the following attorneys from our Labor & Employment Practice Group at your convenience:
|Juan J. Casillas Ayala
|Luis F. Llach-Zúñiga
|Israel Fernández Rodríguez
|Luis R. Ramos Cartagena
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