The Costa Rica legislature and the office of the president have coordinated legislation to ease the financial burden of Covid-19 on the population and the economy. The following is the list of decrees, regulations and laws that have been implemented to date.
LAWS PASSED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
- Tax Relief Law before COVID-19. This law creates a tax deferment for the payment of the V.A.T. Tax, Income Tax, Selective Consumption Tax and the import taxes during the months of April, May, and June of 2020.
- Law Authorizing a reduction in the work days. This law allows employers that meet certain thresholds to reduce the working hours of their employees. To qualify the company must have had at least a 20% reduction in gross income to reduce their labor force by 50%. A reduction in Gross income of more than 60% allows the employer to reduce their workforce by 75%.
- Law capping the commission on credit card. This law imposes upon the Central Bank of Costa Rica and the Commission to Promote Competition to establish the technical criteria to cap credit card commission.
- Amnesty for the Collection of Social Security Taxes. The law grants an amnesty for the collection of social security taxes for independent workers, voluntarily insured individual and employers which consist of forgiveness of late payments, fines, penalties and interests so long as the formally register with the social security administration within 6 months of this law.
- Protection of the citizens by imposing price controls on basic necessities in a national emergency to prevent speculation, hoarding of products and shortages.
- Mandate to State Owned Banks related to Covid 19 Emergency. This Decree instructs the state owned bank to reduce the interest rates, extend credit terms and extend repayment terms on bank loans.
- Declaration of a National Emergency. This measure allows the government to:
- close down its borders to foreigner (b) Suspend classes at all public schools and universities (c) order mandatory isolation for those that enter the country.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
The Ministry of Health has issued several guidelines to business owners and Managers that mandate that all workplaces establish protocols and guidelines for the containment of Covd-19
Guidelines for issued to prevent massive group activities in shopping centers, movie theaters, supermarkets and gymnasiums.
Guidelines issued for the tourism services industry.
Guidelines issued for public transport industry and private transport providers.
Preventive orders issue to close down all public and private educational centers.
General guidelines for self quarantine of Costa Rican residents and diplomats who enter the country. The assumption will be that anybody arriving in the airport will be considered a contagious risk.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
The CCSS (Social security administration) has approved a reduction in the tax base for a 3 month period beginning March 19, 2020. This includes a reduction of 25% of the minimum mandated contribution.
The CCSS will grant home isolation paid leave for victims of Covid-19.
MINISTRY OF LABOR (MTSS)
The Ministry of Labor has issued preventive measure ordering all employers when possible to allow online work. The Public Sector has been issued an order to implement telecommuting.
The customs department has issued an order to control the export and re-export of surgical related products to avoid any local shortages.
Authorization to those businesses located in Free Trade Zones to provide their employees with the necessary equipment so they can work telecommuting online.
That during this national emergency period the documentary evidence used for customs could be by way of photocopies instead of originals as previously required.
I.C.E. COSTA RICA INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICITY
Is allowing their Commercial and industrial clients to request the right defer half of their payment for energy consumption during the months of March, April and May 2020. The remaining 50% must be paid in equal installments from July to December 2020.
THE JUDICIAL BRANCH
There is functional shut down of the court system suspending any face to face activities with certain exceptions related to criminal and domestic cases.
NATIONAL INSURANCE INSTITUTE (I.N.S.)
Ha implemented a preferential rate for worker’s compensation insurance for companies that have 30 worker’s or less.
Remove COVID-19 as a work-related risk to ensure that this does not add to the claims made by companies.