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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Conference report on paternity leave bill passes Senate

Sen. José Vargas Vidot

By The Star Staff

A step closer to paternity leave in the private sector and surrogacy in both the public and private sectors was taken with the approval of the conference report on Senate Bill (SB) 155 on the Senate floor Tuesday.

SB 155, authored by independent Sen. José “Chaco” Vargas Vidot, seeks to provide maternity leave to 12 weeks in the private sector, since, at present, only the public sector has that period.

Surrogacy leave would also be recognized in both the public and private sectors.

As for paternity benefits, the legislation contemplates adding a new article to Law 180-1998, known as “Puerto Rico Minimum Salary, Vacation and Sick Leave Law,” in order to create paternity leave in the private sphere of up to eight weeks.

Currently, the law recognizes paternity leave, of 15 working days, only for public employees.

Through the legislation, paternity leave for both public and private employees is made uniform in terms of weeks of duration.

“This advanced bill aims, among other things, to break with macho paradigms that have settled in Puerto Rico and that have spread to the detriment of women, and even Puerto Rican men,” the senator said. “We have to move toward a present of equity starting with the breaking of roles in parenting.”

The measure was filed on Feb. 1, 2021 and was already approved by both bodies previously. However, it was the subject of a conference committee where the House of Representatives and the Senate agreed on final language for approval.

The measure now awaits the endorsement of the full House and then will be passed on to the Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia for evaluation.

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