Add a bookmark to get started

31 August 20203 minute read

Puerto Rico expands maternity leave for adopting mothers

An amendment to the Working Mothers Protection Act, Act No. 3 of March 13, 1942 that extends the right to paid maternity leave to women who adopt a six-year-old or older child became effective on August 8, 2020, when Act 95-2020 was approved. This legislation applies to all women working in the private and public sectors in Puerto Rico.


Women were previously entitled to maternity leave if they adopted a child, but this was limited to children up to five years old who were not enrolled in school. Birth mothers and women who adopt children five years old or younger were and are entitled to an eight-week paid leave. Now, under the new amendment, women who adopt children six years of age or older are entitled to a five-week paid leave. The new leave is not conditioned on the minor being enrolled at school.


The leave for adopting mothers starts when the female employee receives the child at her home. To claim the leave, the employee must notify her employer about her intention of adopting a child at least 30 days before taking the leave, assert her intention of returning to work after using the adoption leave, and provide evidence of the adoption procedure. 


Employees receive their full salary during maternity leave. The salary amount is based in the average wages earned by the employee during the preceding six months. If the employee has been working less than six months for the employer, she should be paid the amount she was earning when she started to use the leave. The maternity leave is paid by the employer.


It should be noted that there is no similar legislated leave for adopting fathers in the private sector, although private employers can develop their own policies.


In the public sector, as established in Act 26-2017, fathers individually adopting a child up to five years old who is not enrolled in school may take up to eight weeks of fully paid paternity leave. If the child is six years of age or older, the father adopting by himself is entitled to up to 15 days of paid paternity leave. If the father is jointly adopting a minor, he may take up to 15 days of paternity leave. In this case, the law does not make distinctions based on the age of the child.


If you have any questions, please contact the authors or your DLA Piper relationship attorney.


This information does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.  All information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only.  No reader should act, or refrain from acting, with respect to any particular legal matter on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.