QCOSTARICA – Costa Rican fathers will soon have two days off a week off work during the first month of their children’s lives, in order to share the responsibilities of caring for newborns.
Until now, this was a benefit that some employers gave their employees on a voluntary basis. However, with the approval of the bill last Monday, April 18, a reform to the Labor Code creates paternity leave in Costa Rica.
In total, fathers will have eight days of leave for the birth of their children (two each week) and will receive their full salary. The remuneration corresponding to those days will be covered by the employer and the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) in equal parts.
“The father of the newborn boy or girl must agree to take care of the newborn; In the absence of the father or if he does not agree to take care of the minor, this special leave will be granted to the worker who demonstrates that he will take care of the newborn boy or girl”, establishes the law.
Creation of new leaves
Through this bill, the leaves listed below are added to article 95 of the Labor Code:
- Paternity leave for biological fathers: 2 days per week during the 4 weeks from the birth of the child.
- Leave for the individual adopter: 3 months. There was already a three-month leave for the mother who adopts a minor, but now it is left open for it to be a person of either sex.
- Leave for joint adoption: 3 months, which can be divided between the adopters by mutual agreement and can be taken simultaneously or alternately, as defined by the parties.
- Leave for the death of a mother: in the event that the mother dies in childbirth or during the leave, the biological father will have the right to enjoy the postpartum leave of the deceased mother. If the father does not agree to take care of the minor, this leave will be granted to the worker who proves that he will take care of the newborn child.
The new reforms to the Labor Code impose new obligations for employers, so it is important that companies take the necessary actions and draft internal policies in order to comply with the labor regulations and avoid any contingency to items such as:
- Fifteen minutes every three hours.
- Half an hour twice a day.
- One hour at the beginning of your workday.
- One hour before the end of the workday.
- Choosing to enter an hour later or leave an hour earlier from your work site
This reform includes the possibility of intervals to be chosen by the employee for her breastfeeding time:
Breasteeding rooms in the workplace: The Labor Code amendment establishing the employer’s obligation to have a breastfeeding room when the employer has mothers in the workplace who are breastfeeding, regardless of the total number of women employed in the establishment.
Pregnancy tests: Article 70 of the Labor Code includes the prohibition for the employer to require a medical pregnancy test for the entrance or permanence at work.
The law was promoted by legislaros Franggi Nicolás of the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN), Patricia Villegas of the Patrido Integridad Nacional(PIN) and independent legislator Shirley Díaz.
For it become law, it now requires the signature of the President and publication in the official government newsletter, La Gaceta.