In 2010, the CCSS issued up to 1.000 "boletas" daily for illnesses, most suspected to stay home and watch the World Cup games. Photo for illustastrive purposes.
In 2010, the CCSS issued up to 1.000 “boletas” daily for illnesses, most suspected to stay home and watch the World Cup games. Photo for illustastrive purposes.

COSTA RICA NEWS – With the start of the World Cup games and Costa Rica’s participation in the first found of play, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) is expecting an increase in “false disabilities”.

The CCSS says it will implementing a control mechanism to prevent workers to fake illnesses to get (paid) time off work.

The plan is based on a new regulation granting disabilities, adopted by the CCSS on April 24 of this year, which allows monitoring the number of “boletas” (disability tickets) issued to workers, both in the private and public sector.

The regulation allows the CCSS to inspect medical centres with an unusual amount or rise of boletas issued and demand explanations.

Rodrigo Bartels, director of the Comisión Evaluadora de Incapacidades de la CCSS, explains that the situation was different in the past, like in during the 2010 World Cup games, the CCSS did not have regional inspectors and no systems information or controls. “That has all changed”, Bartels told La Nacion.

The mechanism aims to avoid what happened in 2010 when up to 1.000 “boletas” were being issued daily, most for two to five days off work.

For an employee, either working for a private company or the government, to have paid time off work he or she needs a “boleta” from the local clinic or hospital. Without the boleta, an employer can dock pay. In addition and in accordance with the country’s Código de Trabajo (Labour Code) and employer can fire an employee without cause and social responsibility (payment of benefits) who abandons his or her job without good cause or permission.

During the three World Cup Games that Costa Rica’s national team will be participating, it is expected that employers will give time off work or set up a recreation area for employees to watch the game.

This is up to each employer or manager.

In 2006, the last time Costa Rica qualified for World Cup play, the administration of Oscar Arias, provided time off for public sector employees. At many private companies, large screens were set up for employees to watch the games.

For 2014, the Luis Guillermo Solís administration said last month that will not give time off public sector employees to watch the games.

“Invented” or “made up” illnesses are during the games is not an excuse for time off work, according to Dr. Bartels.


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