San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Reform Would Shift Cost of Maternity Leave to State

A reform before the Legislative Assembly would shift the burden of paying maternity leave from employers to the Social Security System (Caja). At the moment, employers and the Caja split the bill 50-50.

“It’s fundamental:We cannot attempt real women’s labor equality as long as the possibility of paying for a pregnancy disability is a disincentive” to hiring women, said President Oscar Arias in a speech announcing the legislation.

Right now, the law requires 120 days of paid maternity leave for expecting mothers, which is paid half by the Caja and half by the employer.

Mario Quirós, a Libertarian Movement (ML) legislator who presented a similar reform of Article 95 of the Labor Code, said he was “happy that (Arias’ project) coincides with the initiative so that there (can) be more employment for women.”

In order for Arias’ reform to go into effect, the Board of Directors of the Caja would also have to reform Article 43 of the Health Regulation so that the new costs to the Caja would be applied gradually, according to a statement from the Casa Presidencial.

Arias said the reform, which “means large expenses,” would be paid for by “strengthening (the Caja) with greater resources and with a process of comprehensive modernization.”


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