Work and Wages

This page was last updated on: 2021-11-18

Minimum Wage

Minimum wage means the minimum salary sufficient to cover the material, moral and cultural needs of the worker and his family.

Government determines the minimum wage rate according to the proposal made by the National Minimum Wage Council. Minimum wage rates can also be set by collective agreement, provided that the rates are not lower than minimum wages fixed by legal authority. Every worker has the right to earn a minimum wage, which must meet the moral, cultural and material needs of a household. Other factors that are considered while determining the minimum wage include cost of living, economic situation of the country, level of employment, different systems of remuneration and the different areas of production.

In accordance with the Constitution of El Salvador, workers are entitled to minimum wage rates adjusted periodically for the sectors including commerce, services, industry, textile, clothing, agriculture, coffee and sugar cane industry.

Different wage rates are determined for different sectors and for specific categories of workers (Trainees, domestic workers, piece-rate workers and others).Minimum wage rates are fixed periodically for a maximum period of 3 years. 

In El Salvador the Constitution imposes on the State the duty of maintaining a technical inspection to ensure the strict compliance with the legal norms of work, attendance, welfare and social security (Art.44). The constitutional obligation is complied by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare which is responsible for the labor inspection procedure ( the Law on the Organization and Functions of Labour and Social Sector). The Inspectorate of Labour imposes fines applying the provisions of art. 628-631 of the Labour Code and the provisions of the Law on the Organization and Functions of Labour and Social Sector. 

On noting a violation, the law gives the employer an opportunity to present his view before the labour inspector award of fine. The amount of fine is dependent on the seriousness of the offence, enterprise capacity to pay fine and the number of times the perpetrator has violated the minimum wage provisions. 

Source: §38(2) & 44 of the Constitution of El Salvador; § 144-159 of the Labour Code 1972, last amended in 2019.

Current minimum wage rates can be found in the Minimum Wage section.

Regular Pay

Wage is the compensation in cash that the employer pays to the worker for services rendered according to a labour contract. It includes everything that a workers receives in cash (basic wage, bonuses, allowances, overtime, remuneration for work on weekly rest days or day off, profit sharing) as a payment of his/her services

Labour Code requires timely payment of full wages in legal tender to the worker or any other authorized person at the workplace or any other mutually agreed place. Payment in the form of alcoholic beverages is forbidden. Payment of salary is made per unit of time (on weekly, fortnightly, monthly basis or immediately preceding business day), by unit of work, mixed system, by task, as a commission, and piece rate basis. Wage payment generally must be made within two days at the end of a wage period and at least fortnightly payments should be made for the payments stipulated by the commission.

Deduction from wages is generally not allowed. Deductions can be made after employee's written consent only in case of loans. The deductions from pay must not exceed 20% to cover maintenance obligations, union dues, contributions to social security and taxes.

An employer should provide pay slips to all employees on each payday or payment receipts that reflect the calculation of wages along with items, the ordinary and extraordinary hours worked during day or night shifts, and any working days, holidays, and days of rest that the employee worked.  These documents also must include commissions and any other amounts paid to the employee.

In accordance with amended article 198 of the Labour Code, the Aguinaldo (extra month’s pay at Christmas) is paid at the following rates:
• 15 days’ salary for a worker with one but less than three years of service
• 19 days’ salary for a worker with three but less than ten years of service
• 21 days’ salary for a worker with ten or more years of service

Source: §119-136 & 198 of the Labour Code 1972, last amended in 2019

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • Decreto núm. 15 de 1972, Código de Trabajo / Labour Code 1972

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