Faced with a new reform that calls for working 12 hours a day in Costa Rica, the Pastoral Social Cáritas pointed out that this schedule would affect family life and women, who are the ones who bear the greatest weight of care tasks. This reform harms integral human development, says the Caritas statement
On August 4th, a commission of the Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica, issued a statement on bill 21,182, aimed at introducing some reforms to the Labor Code; among them, 12-hour work days for four consecutive days, followed by three days off (4-3 days; in some cases, 3-4), in certain jobs and under certain conditions.
In the statement, the commission reflects that this new schedule, in which 12 hours of work will be done for four or three days, must be added the hours of travel, between the places of residence and the work centers of the workers. It means that it would be 14 hours or more away from home.
14 hours away from home without caring for dependents
The spokesman for the Social Pastoral, pointed out that “this work regime would affect family life, weakening family ties. It would seriously harm the tasks of caring for dependent people (minor, elderly and others), which would result, in many cases, in the impossibility of joining the labor market for many people.
Given that women are usually the ones who bear the greatest burden of care tasks, they would be seriously affected and, in many cases, the possibilities of accessing formal paid work would be closed.
Days 4-3 would be incompatible with the study schedules of a large part of workers who study outside of their working day. In addition, it is documented that such long working hours have an impact on the physical and mental health of working people”.
Might not be voluntary
There are no guarantees that, under the current conditions of the labor inspectorate by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the principle of voluntariness in the incorporation into the regime of the 4.3 sessions is respected for all people, explains the statement.
Father Aguiluz said that the document warns that the cultural identity of a large part of the Costa Rican population, which is confessionally Christian, must be respected, so that Sunday is an important part of their spirituality, as a day of joy, rest and solidarity. 12-hour days on Sundays are incompatible with this practice of a large part of Costa Ricans.
Working days that harm integral human development
According to Pastoral Social Caritas, this reform of working hours harms comprehensive human development. The document indicates that there are ways for economic reactivation and, therefore, for job creation, both from the Executive and Legislative Powers, that do not produce job insecurity or affect family life, care tasks, study, education and the health of working people.