In June of this year, the percentage of wage earners in Costa Rica who did telecommuting fell to its lowest point since the pandemic began in March 2020. For that month, only 8.8% of wage earners worked under this modality or hybrid (both at home and at the office). This means that for the II Quarter of 2022 there were 139,917 teleworkers out of a total of wage earners that reaches 1,582,340.
According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC), since July 2020 the percentage remained above 10%. For the third quarter of that year, the percentage was 21.24% -a historical figure-, before a modality that still did not have such a presence in labor contracts in Costa Rica. Since then, it began a decline that ends in June at its lowest point.
Private sector returns to normal
Data from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS) indicate that the number of officials who telecommute increased from October 2021 to May 2022. For the last quarter of 2021, the number of public workers under this modality was 46,277. For the second quarter of 2022 it rose to 87,889.
If we take into account that there was a reduction in the number of public workers between one period and another, the percentage went from 20.98% to 45.28%. This allows us to conclude that the main contribution to reducing the number of people who work from home in the same period is made by the private sector.
This medium tried to know the position of the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of the Private Business Sector (Uccaep), but for the closing of this note there was no response.
However, with the approval of the Teleworking Law in 2019, the same group had celebrated, among other things, because some 1,400 vehicles were going to stop circulating, mainly in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) and because this modality increased productivity.
The Government of Rodrigo Chaves has shown its interest not only in maintaining teleworking figures, but also in increasing it, as long as this does not mean a deterioration in the provision of public services.
“There are very conflictive areas”
Although for now they do not have a measure of whether people currently move more or less than before the pandemic in their vehicle, the Traffic Police acknowledge that the complications of transit have already returned to the streets. And this is mainly due to people moving back to their offices and students to schools and colleges.
For the police force, the trail of calm in traffic left by mobility restrictions, whose objective was to prevent people from moving and bringing the Covid-19 virus to uninfected people, has already ended.
The director of the Traffic Police, Alexander Solano, pointed out that “there are already very conflictive areas” and that the reason is the increase in cars along with the well-known “bottlenecks.” Again, peak hours were established every morning and every afternoon. On weekends the passage tends to be complicated, mainly near the shopping centers.
Due to this, the police chief recommended patience and planning to drivers, to try to reduce the imminent increase in accidents that occurs with the return of circulation without limitations. “The Tico is very given to the fact that if he comes in at eight, with five minutes left, he says he still has time, he grabs the car and leaves in a hurry,” said Solano.