Costa Rica | General Strike by Public Sector Employees Paralyzes Services
As of September 10, 2018, several of the largest unions in Costa Rica have been in an indefinite strike, with no end in sight. The strike has impacted many public services, such as postal service, social security administration (including hospitals and clinics), public education, and many other government services. The strike is against a recent legislative bill to introduce the Valued-Added Tax (VAT), limit some benefits for the public sector, and create new taxes. Currently, a court has declared all but one of the strikes to be illegal. If the illegality is upheld in appeal, employees who remain on strike will have 24 hours to resume labor or face termination.
Nicaragua | Second Increase to Minimum Wage in Six Months Goes into Effect
New Order or Decree
On March 9, 2018, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Labor set the new minimum wages in Nicaragua. The second of two increases became effective on September 1, with a 5.20% hike. This new increase will remain effective until March 2019.
Panama | New Law Grants Protections to Employees with HIV and STDs
New Legislation Enacted
Law No. 40, which came into force on August 14, 2018, allows employees suffering from HIV or an STD to request changes in their work conditions, provided they present a medical certificate. The employees are also entitled to up to 144 hours of leave per year based on their medical condition. Notification is voluntary, but if made, employers are required to maintain the matter confidential. Additionally, employers are forbidden from discriminating against employees based on their health, and cannot terminate employees with HIV/STDs unless for cause and with prior authorization from the Ministry of Labor.