The Mexican Social Security Institute (“Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social,” hereinafter “IMSS”) recently published Circular 10/16 to announce new regulations for the issuance of maternity leave certificates. These regulations became effective as of July 1, 2016.

Circular 10/16, in part, provides:

  1. During her pregnancy, the insured has up to 84 days to request the issuance of the certificate for maternity leave, known as “Certificado Unico.” This certificate will be valid for both the prenatal and postnatal periods, regardless of whether the insured wishes to receive medical attention from an IMSS doctor or from a non-IMSS doctor (such as a private doctor).
  2. If, during the course of the pregnancy, the insured elects to receive care from a non-IMSS doctor, the insured may request the certificate any day within 34 weeks of gestation as long as she presents these documents:
    1. Official photo ID.
    2. Document showing the insured’s social security number.
    3. Ultrasound report issued no more than five weeks prior to the date of application for the certificate.
  3. The form "Request for transfer of weeks off from prenatal to postnatal period" has been approved. Under Mexican law, a pregnant employee is entitled to six weeks of leave prior to the birth of a child, and six weeks for maternity leave following childbirth.1 An employee is permitted to transfer four of the six weeks of the prenatal leave for use following childbirth. By filing a form, the insured can exercise this right. To request this transfer, the insured must file the following proof:
    1. Employer’s consent to the transfer of leave.
    2. Authorization from the insured’s doctor—the doctor must determine whether the transfer would be in the insured's best interest.
    3. Authorization from the treating doctor if the insured is being treated by a non-IMSS doctor.

These new regulations represent a significant step toward the protection of female workers, and serve as an important vehicle to accomplish the goals set forth under the Federal Labor Law and Social Security Law.