The Effect of the Declaration of the Monkeypox Outbreak State of Emergency on the Workplace Policies

Oct 2022
Sashmarie Z. Rivera López

Recently, Governor Pedro Pierluisi issued Executive Order 2022-044, declaring a State of Emergency in Puerto Rico due to the monkeypox virus outbreak.  Through the Order, Governor Pierluisi authorized the Department of Health to implement measures to safeguard the health, well-being, and public safety of citizens.  Employers must know that this Declaration now grants non-exempt employees’ right for special paid leave if they get infected or are suspected of having been infected with monkeypox.

Specifically, Act No. 37-2020 amended the Puerto Rico Vacation and Sick Leave Act to create a special five-day paid leave for non-exempt employees in the private sector who gets infected or are suspected of being infected by an illness or epidemic that causes a state of emergency as declared by either the Governor of Puerto Rico or the Secretary of the Puerto Rico Health Department.  To use this special paid leave the employee must first exhaust all available accrued sick leave and any other available accrued leave to which the employee is entitled.

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