Work and Wages

This page was last updated on: 2020-01-07

Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage is the minimum remuneration that every worker is entitled. It should be sufficient to cover the material, moral and cultural needs of the worker and is fixed periodically for different occupations, sectors and regions.

National Wages Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour determines the minimum wage through executive decrees. The Council sets the minimum wage by sector and occupations and it is applicable to all workers employed in private sectors. The Council is a tripartite body composed of government, worker and employer representatives. It works under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and is responsible for setting and reviewing minimum wages for all private sector labour activities. It is composed of 9 regular members and three substitute members. The National Wages Council is established by a constitutional mandate under article 57 of the Constitution.

Minimum wage should be sufficient to cater to the needs of workers and their families. Other factors that are considered while determining the minimum wage includes cost of living, level of wages and incomes in the country, economic development, and inflation rate.

Minimum wages can be revised at the request of 5 employers or 15 workers in the same occupation at any time during the year. Minimum wage for public sector employee is determined by specific Decrees, which regulate the increment of wages for these workers.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Costa Rica in 2010 launched the National minimum wage Campaign there stipulated the following: During the first inspection, the officials will make the employer prevention and remind that Article 177 Labour Code establishes the right of workers to earn a minimum wage. During the next few days, inspectors will return to the workplace that is irregular to see if they corrected the fault. If not corrected, the next step is to apply a financial penalty set by the Ministry according to each case.

Labour Inspectors, working under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, are authorized to carry out inspections to ensure compliance with the constitutional provisions as well as labour code provisions, international ratified conventions and collective agreements. Minimum wage compliance is also regulated by the labour inspectors. Violation of these provisions leads to fines. Fines may range between 1 to 23 base wages.

Source: §57 of the Political Constitution of the Republic of Costa Rica 1949, last amended in 2011; §177-192, 608 & 614 of Labour Code of 27 August 1943, last amended in 2020; §2, 4, 17, 18, & 19 of the Decree No. 832 concerning minimum wages

Regular Pay

Wage is the compensation that an employer must pay to the worker according to a labour contract. In accordance with the Costa Rican Constitution, it is a primary obligation of the employer to give salary to his workers.

Labour Code allows employer to pay wages per unit of time (hourly, daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly) or per piece of work. It requires an employer to pay workers in legal tender. Parties are free to set wage payment period, which cannot be greater than a fortnight for manual workers and one month for intellectual (non-manual) workers and domestic workers.

The law allows in kind payment of wages, which a worker receives in form of food, lodging, clothes and other perquisites, intended for his/her immediate personal use. Value of in kind payment must not exceed 50% of the cash salary that a worker receives. Workers must be provided with a salary slip which should indicate base salary, working hours, overtime amount, and any commissions or bonuses paid to the worker.

Executive Decree No. 11324 of March 20, 1980 prohibits the payment of wages, in whole or in part, with intoxicating beverages or harmful drugs. Remuneration in kind means only what the worker or his family receives in form of food, clothing and other items intended for immediate personal consumption, and should not exceed 50% of salary or wage.

Source: §162, 164-166 & 168 of Labour Code of 27 August 1943, last amended in 2020; §1, 2 of Executive Decree No. 11324 of March1980

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • Código del Trabajo, del 27 de agosto de 1943, modificado por la Ley N º 8886, de 06 de diciembre 2010 / Labour Code, of 27 August 1943 as amended up to Act No. 8886, of 6 December 2010
  • Constitución Política de la República de Costa Rica / Political Constitution of the Republic of Costa Rica
  • Ley 832 sobre los salarios mínimos / Law 832 Concerning Minimum Wages

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