QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica is on the verge of having a new holiday, as legislators approved, in the first debate, a bill to declare August 31, “Día de la Persona Negra y la Cultura Afrocostarricense” (Day of the Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture), free for the working population.
The holiday, if and when approved in second (and final) debate would be a non-mandatory pay holiday.
“The declaration as a non-compulsory holiday is a necessary recognition and responds to a wide clamor of the Limonense (people of Limon) with the purpose of consolidating the celebration of the Day of the Black Person,” said Eduardo Cruickshank, the legislators promoting the bill.
In addition, this would allow broad participation of all the people in the country in the activities carried out around this date, the legislator continued.
In this way, August 31 would be added to the other two holidays on the calendar that are non-mandatory: August 2, Day of the Virgin of the Angels, and December 1, which commemorates the abolition of the army,
How does the non-mandatory holiday work?
Once it becomes law, workers, from the public and private sectors, will be able to enjoy August 31 (the same as August 2 and December 1) as a non-working day.
This means different things for different employees. For example, monthly salaried employees will get the day off without a reduction in the salary, and if they choose to work on that day get no extra pay.
Those who earn per week, or per day actually worked, will receive a simple salary if they work on this date; no pay if they do not work on that day.
For Cruickshank, the absence of a declaration of this date as a legal holiday has been an impediment to the participation of many people from Limon and other Costa Ricans interested in the issue of Afro-descendants.
The project will be put to a vote in the second debate this Thursday, August 26.
Last December (2020), the United Nations General Assembly adopted by acclamation a resolution presented by Costa Rica and co-sponsored by 52 countries, to proclaim August 31 as the International Day for People of African Descent.
The International Day for People of African Descent will be celebrated for the first time on 31 August 2021.