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FAQ: Work shifts reductions and changes in Social Security in Costa Rica due to Coronavirus



FAQ: Work shifts reductions and changes in Social Security in Costa Rica

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica approved the law that allows employers to reduce the hours and wages of workers, as a measure of relief and support in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. The law is to give an employer the ability to cut wages and hours by 50%, if he can show that he has a negative difference in his gross earnings compared to the same month the previous year.

BLP shares a series of frequently asked questions related to this new Law:


Q: What is the work shift reduction?

A: It is the possibility that the employer can proceed in a unilateral way with the temporary modification of the work shifts that are agreed with their employees, because of the national emergency.

Q: In which cases can be applied the work shift reduction law?

A: When the employer can demonstrate the existence of a decrease of at least a 20% in the gross income of the company, and that affection can be assignable to the national emergency declaratory.

Q: How much can I reduce the work shifts if I experience and affection on the incomes of at least 20%.

A: It can be reduced in a 50%.

Q: How much can I reduce the work shifts if I experience and affection on the incomes of at least 60%?

A: It can be reduced on a 75%

Q: In order to make the change on the work shifts does the employer needs the approval of the employee?

A: Just in cases of the recent national emergency declaratory, the employer has the unilateral authority of modifying the work shifts without the employee approval.

Q: In order to modify the work shifts is it required any approval from an authority?

A: Yes, this modification has to be approved by the Ministry of Labor.

Q: What happens if the request of work shift reductions is denied?

A: The company must pay to the employees the salary differences according to the regular shift if the deduction wasn’t applied.

Q: For how long the work reduction shifts applies?

A: It can be stablished for a period of three months renewable for two equal periods.

Q: Can the work shift be reduced to a pregnant worker or in period of breastfeeding?

A: It’s not possible.

Q: Can I make a verbal agreement, or it must be written?

A: It is suggested that it is documented in a written way, stablishing the dates in which is applicable and the validity of that modification.

Q: When the work shift is reduced, can the salary be reduced?

A: Yes, the salary is reduced in a same proportion as the diminution on the working day.

Q: The Social Security has taken any agreement on the social charges because of the COVID?

A: Yes, the Costa Rican Social Security (C.C.S.S.) had made the decision of paying the social charges over reduced salaries during the next 3 months.

Q: Has the CCSS agreed to reduce the percentages of the social charges?

A: No, the percentages of contribution are still the same.  

Q: Has the minimum contributory salary been reduced for the influence of the COVID?

A: Yes, the minimum contributory salary has been reduced to ₡73.654 for the sickness insurance and maternity and to ₡68.639 for the invalidity regimen, old age and death.

Q: For how long will the agreement of the CCSS will last?

A: 3 months.

Q: How these dispositions applies to workers with Special Protection?

A: In this case, the work shift reduction will only proceed when it is stablished for at least a 90% of the company staff.


We have a 24/7 service to address your legal queries related to the effects of COVID-19 in your company. Contact us through our Help Desk for immediate assistance at: helpcovid19@blplegal.com. Access to our Media Room for further information about legal aspects related to Coronavirus in Central America at this link.














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