Interested in becoming an ex-pat in Costa Rica? You’ll want to understand the country’s employment laws and here’s a detailed look at what you need to know.
Costa Rica is a friendly and welcoming place for ex-pats, with employment opportunities as well. The country’s employment laws protect workers and ensure they are treated fairly, regardless of nationality.
Employment Laws for Ex-pats
As an ex-pat, you’ll have the same employment rights as Costa Rican citizens. You are entitled to the same minimum wage, vacation days, and other benefits. You cannot be discriminated against based on nationality, race, gender, or religion.
In Costa Rica, the government sets the minimum wage annually and it varies by occupation. For reference, an unqualified worker would receive CRC 10,875.12 (Costa Rican colones) per day and a qualified worker would receive CRC 12,139.07 per day.
Foreigners in Costa Rica are entitled to the same minimum wage as Costa Rican citizens. If your employer tries to pay you less than the minimum wage, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Labor.
Hours and Overtime
The legal workweek in Costa Rica is 48 hours, divided into six 8-hour days. Employees are entitled to one day of rest per week, typically Sunday.
Overtime is any work that exceeds 48 hours a week or 8 hours a day. Overtime must be paid at 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly wage. Employees cannot be required to work more than 12 hours of overtime in a week.
All employees in Costa Rica are entitled to paid vacation days. The number of vacation days you are entitled to depend on how long you have been employed.
After one year of employment, you are entitled to 2 weeks of paid vacation. After 5 years, you are entitled to 3 weeks of paid vacation; after 10 years, you are entitled to 4 weeks of paid vacation.
Sick Days and Maternity Leave
All employees in Costa Rica are entitled to paid sick days but the labor code of Costa Rica does not specify the number of days for sick leave. However, in case of occupational illness, employees who have paid social security contributions for 6 months in the 12 months prior to the start of sickness are entitled to receive 50% of their salary for the first 3 days of sickness. The Social Security Institute pays the other 50%.
Pregnant employees will receive 4 months of paid maternity leave: 1 month before and 3 months after childbirth. Employees who adopt a child are also entitled to 3 months of paid leave when the child arrives.
If you are an ex-pat looking for work in Costa Rica, knowing the employment laws governing the hiring process is important. Foreigners have certain rights under Costa Rican law, and employers must abide by these laws or face penalties.
By understanding employers’ and employees’ expectations and rights, foreigners can avoid potential legal issues. If you are planning on working in Costa Rica, or have any questions about your current employment situation, please contact a local attorney for more information.
We hope this article has been helpful in providing an overview of the employment laws in Costa Rica.
For more information regarding compliance, visit Global People Strategist.