Legislators approved in first debate a bill that authorizes state institutions to withhold payment from companies delinquent with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS).

For example, if the “patito” company who owes the Caja for worker contributions and is doing work for say the Legislative Assembly, Congress may withhold the amount owed and deposit it with the Caja.

According to Pablo Heriberto Abarca, of the Pablo Heriberto Abarca, del Partido Unidad Socialcristiana (PUSC), the initiative aims to avoid legal problems between both parties and even possible layoffs of the company employees.

The bill has two purposes, reduce the delinquency rate with the Caja and provide the Caja with the necessary funds to continue providing services to contributors.

The bill now requires second and final debate in the Legislature, followed by the signature of the President (Carlos Alvarado) and publication in the official government newsletter, La Gaceta, for the law to go into effect.

The Caja is in charge of most of the nation’s public health sector, including hospitals and clincis (Ebais). Its role in public health (as the administrator of health institutions). The Caja is also charged with the administration of the public pension system. Its services are available to all citizens and permanent legal residents.