Know the Key Points of the 4×3 Work Week in Costa Rica

    Change in working hours would only apply to 10% of workers

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    Before the end of July, a 4×3 work week would be enabled. This is a change in working hours, which would allow workers to enjoy three days off, in exchange for working 12 hours the rest of the week.

    The change in the historic eight-hour work day would only apply to 10% of the workers and not to all the company’s collaborators, according to Pilar Cisneros, deputy, and head of the Social Progress faction. This is because the change is focused on companies that have a 24/7 production cycle, so it would benefit, for example, free zones.

    “We believe that this latest version of the project is adequate and for this reason, it is the one that we are going to submit to a vote of the deputies. The initiative was incredibly strengthened to guarantee the rights of workers in all areas,” Cisneros said. The measure aims to make Costa Rica a more attractive country for investment and thus generate more jobs.

    The Public sector

    In the case of public employees, they were excluded from the law, since 24-hour production cycles are not required, while those workers with night shifts would have the possibility of working 12 hours three days and resting the rest of the week.

    Another important aspect of the bill is that the change in the labor law is optional; that is, if a worker refuses the new schedule, the company could not fire him without the employer’s responsibility for this issue. On the other hand, the 4×3 days will not apply when it comes to heavy, dangerous, or unhealthy work and when the environmental exposure times are harmful.

    Very specific

    “It is important to comment in principle that the 4×3 shift is for specific economic activities that have a continuous flow of production, that is, it is not for all companies, nor all people,” said Shirley Saborío, director of the Chamber of Commerce of Costa Rica and coordinator of the Labor Technical Commission, who expects a greater dynamism of the economy. The proposal is opposed by trade union groups and deputies who fear the impact on women’s health, quality of life, and unemployment.

    Changes to the Working Hours

    The project of 4×3 days would imply an important change in the labor legislation. These are the most important elements:

    • Current legislation Proposed law
    • Workday is eight hours a day five days a week
    • There are two days off 4×3 days are enabled, where you will work four days 12 hours a day, in exchange for three days off
    • A maximum of four overtime hours per day
    • New workers may work overtime, but working on one of their days off
    • Public employees have an eight-hour schedule No changes in this section because bureaucrats were excluded from the 4×3 shifts
    • Most workers in the private sector -90%- will maintain the current work schedule 4×3 shifts apply to companies that require a 24/7 production cycle, to have only two shifts

    These would be the industries where it will be applied:

    • Technified manufacturing
    • Medical device industry in human and animal life sciences
    • Support services for those activities
    • Corporate services

    The night shift

    • Night shift is a maximum of six hours five days a week, with the possibility of working overtime. The shift will be up to 12 hours on three consecutive days, in exchange for four days off.
    • 1 hour for rest and meals. 90 minutes for rest and meals
    • Mandatory working hours
    • Flexible working hours are optional
    • Overtime is prohibited when they are heavy, dangerous, or unhealthy tasks and when the environmental exposure times are harmful.
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