How the Worker´s Health and Disability Orders Due to COVID-19 Apply in Costa Rica

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    On the subject of isolation and disability orders, doubts arise when the worker is diagnosed with Covid-19 and his condition allows him to continue working. It is important to analyze whether or not there is a disability. If there is a disability, the worker must not and cannot work.

    In the case in which there is no disability, only the isolation order, the collaborator could telework if their functions allow it or otherwise, use their vacations. If the disability is issued, it will prevail and the reduction of vacation days could not be given.

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    When there is a sanitary isolation order, the worker cannot leave his home or the place where he is quarantined, so he must telework or coordinate the enjoyment of vacations. Now, if the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) extends a disability during this period, it must be respected.

    If there is no disability issued by the CCSS and the worker has no difficulty in carrying out their normal tasks and can do so under the modality of teleworking, they can reach an agreement with the employer to work from home.

    “The management of the disability with the CCSS is given with the health order and a certification from the employer in which it is established that the worker did not attend work during the days when the order was issued. The worker must manage it directly.

    “For the National Insurance Institute (INS) it is the employer who must be in charge of managing the disability”, explained Erika Barrantes, labor director of the Sfera firm.

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    In case of disability

    Disability only applies when there is a health order. In the event that the worker is suspicious and the test is carried out, the medical center may issue a disability order during the time the results are available, which is normally three days. In the event that the test is positive, the corresponding disability will be issued.

    “The disability by the CCSS must be made when the worker was infected outside the workplace and by the INS when the contagion occurred in the workplace. The worker is in charge of processing the disability before the CCSS and the employer is in charge of processing the disability before the INS,” added Barrantes.

    If the contagion occurred due to a positive contact at work, the employer must make the report of a work hazard accident and specify how the contagion occurred, attach the health order and the positive result of the worker.

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