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Puerto Rico Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off, Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, and Voting Leave

Table Of Contents

Last updated on May 9, 2024.

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Puerto Rico

Vacation (Annual Leave) Quota

15 days

Employees in Puerto Rico are entitled to 15 days of paid vacation. Accrual of vacation is at the rate of one and one quarter (1 1/4) day per month, for a total of 15 days per year, provided that the employee works at least one hundred and 130 hours during the month in which the accrual takes place.

An employee is not entitled to enjoy vacation time until it has been accrued for an entire year. Under statutory provisions, vacation time should be granted annually, in such a way that it does not interrupt the normal operations of the employer, to which end the employer will establish the vacation schedule. In addition, vacation time should be enjoyed consecutively. However, by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee, vacation leave may be fractioned, as long as the employee enjoys at least 5 consecutive working days of vacation leave during the year.

Carry Over

Vacation time may be accrued up to two (2) years by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee. To that effect, an employer who fails to provide vacation leave to an employee after he/she has accrued the same over years, must grant the employee vacation leave for the total number of days accrued, and pay the employee twice the amount for the vacation accrued over two (2) years.

Payment of Unused Vacation on Termination

When an employee’s employment is terminated for whatever reason, the employer must pay the employee the total vacation leave he/she has accrued, even if it involves less than 1 years’ worth of accrual of the benefit.

Sick Leave in Puerto Rico

Sick Leave

12 days

Accrual of sick leave is at the rate of one (1) day per month, for a total of twelve (12) days per year, provided that the employee works at least one hundred and thirty (130) hours during the month in which the accrual takes place.

Sick leave will be accrued from the start of the employee’s probationary period.

Concerning sick leave, except in cases of acts of force majeure, employees are required to notify about an illness that prevents them from showing up to work, as soon as it is foreseeable and not later than the same day of their absence to work. The enjoyment of sick leave cannot be used as an excuse by the employee for lack of compliance with those rules of conduct validly established by the employer such as, for example, those dealing with attendance, the requirement of providing a medical certificate if the absence exceeds two (2) working days, and the requirement of periodical reports about the continuation of the illness. Sick time which is not taken by the employee during the year will remain accrued for successive years up to a maximum of fifteen (15) days.

Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires private employers with 50 employees or more to provide certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a given 12-month period for:

  • The birth and care of a newborn child.
  • The placement of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care.
  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a “serious health condition.”
  • To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a “serious health condition.”
  • Any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on active duty or call to active duty status as a member of the National Guard or Reserve in support of a contingency operation.

An eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a current member of the Armed Forces (including members of the National Guard or the Reserve) with a serious injury or illness, is also entitled to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a “single 12-month period” for the care of the service member.

Employees who have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months (need not be consecutive), and who have worked 1,250 hours or more over the last 12 months of work are eligible to benefits under the FMLA.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Maternity Leave in Puerto Rico

At least 8 weeks.

Female employees are entitled to paid maternity leave. A pregnant employee is generally entitled to eight (8) weeks of maternity leave. The employee must present a medical certificate indicating that she is pregnant and the estimated date of birth. The leave is comprised of four (4) weeks of prenatal leave and four (4) weeks of postnatal leave. However, an employee may remain at work up to one (1) week before the estimated date of birth, if she presents a medical certificate that authorizes her to work up to that time. An employee may also return to work as early as two (2) weeks after giving birth if she presents a medical certificate from her doctor certifying that she can return to work. If the date of birth is delayed, the employee may continue on prenatal leave until the birth of the child without affecting the postnatal leave. Also, if post-natal complications arise, maternity leave may be extended up to an additional 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Adoption Leave 

At least 8 weeks.

Adopting mothers of pre-school minors or minors having five years of age or less who are not enrolled in school are entitled to paid maternity leave. Under such circumstances, an adopting mother is entitled to the same maternity leave benefits as a mother who gives birth.

To take maternity leave, the adopting mother must give her employer a 30-day notice of her intention to adopt a child, use maternity leave, and plans to return to work. Also, the adopting mother must submit evidence crediting the adoption procedures issued by the adequate entity. Adoption leave will begin on the date the minor joins the family nucleus. The adopting mother may choose to return to work at any time, waiving her right to the unused part of the leave.

Paternity Leave in Puerto Rico

5 days

Private sector employees are entitled to 5 working days of paternity leave.

Parental Leave in Puerto Rico

Only under FMLA.

Employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the U.S. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This leave can be used for the birth of a new child, the placement of an adoptive or foster child, to care for a close family member, or for medical leave when an employee is unable to work.

Bereavement Leave in Puerto Rico

Bereavement leave is not specified by law.

Jury Duty Leave in Puerto Rico

Jury duty leave is not specified by law.

Military Leave in Puerto Rico

Unpaid leave

The statute provides for unpaid leave for members of the Armed Forces of the United States (Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well as its reserves), National Guard, the Commission of the United States Public Health Services, and others designated by the president of the United States during war or an emergency when called to serve voluntarily or involuntarily. The statute also prohibits discriminatory acts against employees, former employees, or employment candidates because of their service in the military, as well as hostile environment and retaliation.

Voting Leave in Puerto Rico

Voting leave is not specified by law.

Public Holidays in Puerto Rico for 2024

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
January 6 Epiphany
January 15 Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday
February 19 President’s Day
March 22 Emancipation Day
March 29 Good Friday
March 31 Easter
May 12 Mother’s Day
May 27 Memorial Day
Jun 16 Father’s Day
Jul 4 Independence Day
Jul 25 Constitution Day
September 2 Worker’s Day
October 14 Day of the Race
November 11 Veterans Day
November 19 Discovery Day
November 28 Thanksgiving Day
December 25 Christmas


  1. Local Laws & Regulations, https://www.atlashxm.com/en/countries/puerto-rico

  2. Payroll and Benefits Guide Puerto Rico, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/puerto-rico/

  3. Definitive Guide to Hiring in Puerto Rico, https://www.globalexpansion.com/countrypedia/puerto-rico

Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

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