The concept of telework becomes especially relevant during the coronavirus health alert in Costa Rica. Below, our specialist Labor & Employment team answers frequently asked questions about work from home:

Q: How can I regulate the teleworking?

A:  It must be regulated with a contract or with an addendum and it’s preferable to apply an internal policy.


Q: If I don’t have the documented the WFH, can I still apply it?

A:  If there isn’t a policy or procedure, according to the current the situation of emergency, the Company can proceed with the positions that can WFH and then every case will be documented.


Q: Which are the teleworking positions?

A: They are the positions that all their functions can be performed remotely.


Q: Does the employer needs an approval of the employee?

R: Yes, but in those cases where there’s an emergency or cases of force majeure, the employer has the faculty of sending the employee to do teleworking.


Q: What happens if any of the employees don’t have the condition to do teleworking (internet, an area designated for working, etc.)?

R: In this case the teleworking cannot be applied, however an agreement to pay can be made so the employee can have all the necessary resources (e.g. electricity or internet).


Q: For how long can the employees do telework?

R: This will be subjected to the company needs and must be agreed between the parties.


Q: Is it necessary to regulate the payments of the electricity and internet?

R: Yes, it’s necessary. The teleworking law includes the obligation of settling who’s going to be responsible for those payments. If there isn’t an agreement the employer must assume the payment.


Q: Can I recognize the payment of internet for the persons that don’t have connectivity yet?

R: If the company wants to, a partial or total payment can be made, it depends on what they agreed.


Q: What happens if I only want to regulate the teleworking for the COVID emergency?

R: It’s possible, it just needs to be stated clearly the temporality and the possibility of leaving without effect this modality of work just as soon as the emergency finishes.


Q: What happens if during the effect of the teleworking modality, the employee is not available or fails with their obligations?

R: In this case, the employer has the faculty to impose all the disciplinary actions required.


Q: Can any employee force the employer to allow him/her to telework?

R: No, the employer needs to determine the teleworking positions and determine if by the functions and information of the work can be performed remotely.


Q: Is it required any authorization from the Ministry of Labor for doing teleworking?

R: No, it is required only to have the teleworking agreement.


Q: What happens if when we are teleworking, and the employee needs to stop doing it under this modality?

R: The employee must inform the employer about the situation in order to determine if it must work at the offices, or also report a sick leave or request a permit.


Q: Can the employee do overtime while teleworking?

R: Yes, the rules of the work shift are the same to the employee as if he / she where at the offices of the company.


Vacations and Permits


Q: Can I send the employees to vacations in a forced way?

R: The employer always has the right to determine the moment in which the employees are going to take their vacations, as long as the employee has the right to take them.


Q: If an employee doesn’t have vacation days accrued, can they be advanced?

R: Yes, it’s possible.


Q: Can vacation days be advanced without the approval of the employee?

R: A mutual agreement can be made, in case of populations at risk, the factor of advancing the vacations can be made in order to protect the employee and also protecting their salary.


Q: Can the company send an employee to a paid leave?

R: Yes, the company has all the right to determine the duration of the permit.


Q: Does the paid leave requires an authorization from the employee?

R: No, since it wouldn’t cause any affectation.


Q: Can the company send an employee to a unpaid leave?

R: Yes, it’s possible.


Q: Is it required to have an authorization from the employee for the unpaid leave? 

R: Yes, an authorization is required from the employee. In the cases of the population at risk that doesn’t want to take vacations, they must take a unpaid leave.


Q: For how long can the permits (leave) be extended?

R: They can be extended as long as the parties have agreed or according to the needs of the company.


Sick leaves


Q: Which are the reasons related to the COVID-19 that the Social Security emits a sick leave?

R: Those cases that are related with the condition under investigation or probable, that the person may have the disease “COVID-19”, and that also has a domiciliary isolation order issued by a health authority. Also the cases where the infection of the virus is confirmed.


Q: For how long the sick leave will be extend?  

R: The maximum duration will be stablished in the sanitary order.


Q: If an employee left the country and then came back; does the employee should be isolated??

R: Yes, the authorities will emit them an isolation order for 14 days.


Q: What happens if any employee recently traveled and doesn’t have an isolation order?

R: In case that the employee shows symptoms or suspects to be infected, they must go immediately to a health center in order to be evaluated.


Q: Can I sanction someone that doesn’t follow the isolation order? 

R: Yes, in case that the employee doesn’t follow the isolation order they can be sanctioned, if they relapse the dismissal can be analyzed. Also, they can be denounced to the line 134.


Q: If the employment contract is ended or suspended, can the employee still have the coverage from the social security?

R: Yes, for the following six months, as long as they paid at least for previous three before the termination or suspension of the employment.


Q: How is the sick leave managed?

R: It must be issued by the doctor that sees the worker at the Costa Rican Social Security or attend with the sanitary order to a health center to get the sick leave.


Q: Will a sick leave from the INS be valid for COVID-19 related purposes?

R: Yes, as long as the employee was infected for work related purposes.


Q: Which amounts will the employee get for a sick leave from the CCSS as from the INS?

R: If the sick leave is issued by the CCSS, the first 3 days of the leave the employer must recognize the 50% of the salary, after the fourth day and on the CCSS will pay the 60% of the salary. If the sick leave is from the INS, this institution will pay the 60% of the salary form the first day of the infraction.


Q: Do I have to report to the INS that the employee is teleworking?

R: Yes, the employer that implements the modality of teleworking must report in the monthly payroll reports, the employees that are working under this modality, by the particular code for this type of functionaries.


Q: What happens if the employee suffers an accident while teleworking?

R: The employee must notify immediately to the employer, and the company must give the announcement to the INS the next 8 business days.

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: [email protected]Access to our Media Room for further information about legal aspects related to Coronavirus in Central America at this link.