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P.R. House of Representatives Bill 14

Updated: Feb 3

To amend Act No. 3 of March 13, 1942

On January 2, 2017, representative Carlos J. Méndez Nuñez introduced H.R. 14 to amend Sections 4 and 8 of Act No. 3 of March 13, 1942, as amended, known as “Act to Protect Working Mothers” to clarify that the protection of said law applies to every working mother regardless of the nature of her employment. On April 9, 2018, the House of Representatives approved the bill with amendments and it’s currently in calendar to be considered by the Senate.

If the bill is enacted, Section 4 of Act No. 13 of March 13, 1942 will establish that an employer may not terminate, without just cause, an expecting employee or an employee that adopts a child. A lower job performance because of the pregnancy will not constitute just cause. Also, the employer cannot terminate or decide to not renew the contract of an employee because she is expecting. The protections of such statute will apply to employees with contracts for a defined term while the employer-employee relationship exists during the term of the contract, unless the employer has created an expectancy of continued employment, in which case the protections will apply after the specified term of the contract.

Another proposed amendment to Section 4 of Act No. 3 is to increase the penalty for violating said Act to a sum no less than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) and no greater than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) to employers that terminate, suspend, reduce the salary, discriminate in any way against an expecting mother or refuses to restitute her after delivery because of a lower job performance. If enacted, the employer must rebut the presumption that the expecting employee was terminated without just cause.

The amendments to Section 8 of said Act clarify that the protections of the Act will apply to women employed for a determined period of time. However, the Commission of Labor Matters added to this section that the protections of the Act will apply to women employed for a determined period of time while the employer-worker relationship subsists, unless the employer gave the employee a real expectation of employment continuity.

If you have any questions about H.R. 14 or the impact it may cause your company, feel free to contact us at your convenience at (787) 765-5656.