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Costa Rica

Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.

Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.

Return to homepage  |  Last updated: 11 May, 2020

Executive Decree N° 42227 – MP- S, the Executive Branch has enacted National Emergency Decree of March 16th of 2020.  This decree allows all the actions, works and services necessary to solve the emergency, safeguard the health and life of the population, preserve public order and protect the environment.

So far this has included the closing of schools and universities, shuttering of bars and sporting and entertainment events, gyms and other non- essential business where people congregate. Churches and religious services are also suspended. A ban on traffic from 10pm to 5am until further notice is also in effect and public transportation has been reduced.  A ban on incoming non- Costa Rican passengers and non-essential air travel has also been placed in effect. Any resident leaving the country will also have their migratory status revoked. All public institutions are ordered to operate with no more than 20% of their workforce. All other employees must telecommute.

Tax measures – Direct and Indirect

(e.g. payment deferrals, rate reductions…)

Click here to see a comprehensive summary of jurisdictional tax measures and government reliefs in response to COVID-19.

Employment-related measures

(e.g. state compensation schemes, training…)

Authorization to Reduce Workdays due to the National Emergency Declaration Act N° 9832

In effect from 23 March 2020

  • When the gross income of companies is affected by the Covid- 19 event by at least 20%, in relation to the same month of the previous year,  employers may unilaterally reduce by up to 50% the number of hours of the ordinary working day agreed between the parties, as an unequivocal consequence of the Covid – 19 event. The working hours may be reduced by up to 75% when the impact exceeds 60% of gross income.
  • The employer must initiate the respective authorization procedure before the Labor Inspectorate of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, within three business days after the start of the reduction of the workday.
  • The bill limits the authorization to reduce labor hours to be temporary, for a period of time up to 3 months, extendable for 2 equal periods in the event in that these circumstances remain, and such circumstances are validated by the Labor Department
  • The employer must verify the decrease in his gross income and that said affectation is attributable to the Covid- 19 event by means of a sworn statement signed by the legal representative of the company and authenticated by a lawyer, or by a certified public accountant. This information may be subject to verification by the Labor Inspection.
  • For the calculation of unemployment and advance notice, the wages received before the authorization of the reduction of the working day will be considered. For any other calculation of labor rights, the salary actually received by the worker will be taken into account.

Economic stimulus measures

(e.g. loans, moratorium on debt repayments…)

Central Bank Approves Monetary and Credit Measures
  • The Monetary Policy Rate was reduced to 1.25% annually.
  • The Interest Rate on one day deposits was reduced to 0.01%
  • The Permanent Credit Facility was reduced to 2%.
  • The Integrated Liquidity Market Permanent Deposit Facility Rate was reduced to 0.01%
  • In addition, the Financial System Supervisory Council (CONASSIF for its initials in Spanish) has adopted measures to protect the grant of credit to the public, including the possibility of renegotiating up to 2 times the conditions of the credit, without affecting the debtor’s credit rating, among others.

Maximum Commissions of the Card System Act N° 9831“ Enacted

In effect from 21 March 2020

  • The bill "Maximum Commissions of the Card System", was approved this past Saturday by the legislative assembly.
  • This law regulates the maximum commissions charged by service providers on the processing of transactions that use payment devices and the operation of the payment card system.
  • This law is mandatory for all card system service providers, as well as the entities that provide them with technological support for their commercial purposes, the card brands, affiliates and customers who accept and use payment devices.
  • The Central Bank of Costa Rica will determine the maximum exchange fees that issuers may charge, as well as the maximum acquisition fees and maximum limits to other fees and charges established by service providers for the use of payment devices, regardless of its denomination.
  • The service provider that does not meet the maximum limits of commissions, established by the Central Bank of Costa Rica for the card system, will be sanctioned with the payment of a fine equivalent to the excess collection that has been made and never less than 200 base salaries.
  • Additionally, the offender must return to affiliates all amounts collected that exceed the maximum commissions authorized by the Central Bank of Costa Rica and will be subject to public record.
  • The Central Bank of Costa Rica must regulate and carry out the first setting of commissions and maximum charges, as well as their corresponding publication, in accordance with the provisions of this law, within a maximum period of six months, counted from their entry in force.

Customs Measures

Export

  • Costa Rica has imposed restrictions on exports of certain products in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • Export restrictions are imposed regarding the following products:
    • Mono glasses
    • N95 masks
    • Disposable surgical masks
    • Nitrile gloves
    • Disposable robes
  • The General Customs Administration has the authority to block exports of these products. However, exports of these products from companies located in “free trade zones” are excluded from the application of this measure.
  • The export restriction applies as of 10 April 2020 and is to remain effective until the emergency decree is lifted.

Other measures and sources

Amendments to the Health Regulations for the Grant of Licenses and Disability to the Beneficiaries of Health Coverage. (In effect)

  • Pursuant to the publication at the Official Journal N° 46 from March 16th, the Social Security Fund Board Members have approved the amendment associated to the new sickness leave, so the term “domiciliary isolation leaves”, can be included within this Ruling, as a result from the sanitary alert derived from COVID-19 spread, as follows:

The Export of Medical Equipment Will be Placed Under Control

  • Pursuant to Directive DGA-003-2020 of March 18th of 2020, the General Customs Administration has placed the export of the following items under control: disposable caps, safety glasses, disposable boots, N95 or FFP2 respirators, disposable surgical masks, level 2 impermeable disposable gowns, latex gloves, automated PCR test systems for the detection of pathogens in biological samples, dacron swabs.

Main sources of information

Contact us

Tax: Álvaro Castro– aacastro@kpmg.com
Legal: Sergio García – sgarcia1@kpmg.com