On October 28, 2020, the Puerto Rico Secretary of Labor, Carlos Rivera Santiago, issued Opinion 2020-04 on Opening Private Sector Businesses during Election Day and Employee Rights.
Given the upcoming General Elections on Tuesday, November 3, the Secretary’s Opinion lays out certain obligations and penalties applicable to private employers regarding employee voting rights. Private sector businesses are free to open in the schedule they deem convenient. However, businesses that operate on Election Day must allow employees, who have not yet voted, up to two (2) hours with pay within their work schedule to exercise their right to vote. These two (2) hours may not be charged to any accumulated paid leave.
The Puerto Rico Electoral Code states that it is a felony for any employer or representative to deny a worker or employee their right to vote and such offense is punishable with imprisonment for one (1) to up to three (3) years, or, a fine of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), at the discretion of the Courts. Voting Centers will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Should you have any questions regarding employer obligations on Election Day or any additional labor and employment concerns, feel free to contact Jiménez, Graffam & Lausell.