Costa Rica Labor Law

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Costa Rica Labor Code extremely comprehensive

The Costa Rica Labor Code embodies the spirit of the country's Constitution and most rights applicable to employees are also basic rights guaranteed to individuals.

The Labor Code is a comprehensive document that establishes the general rules covering all labor relationships. Some subsidiary laws like the Law of Labor-Related Risks, the Law for Worker's Protection, and Administrative Provisions such as decrees for minimum wages, mandatory social security registration, etc. make employment a viable option in this Latin American country.

  • Comprehensive Labor Code

    The Costa Rica Labor Code covers important aspects of employment like work permits, hiring of domestic employees, compensations to be paid on firing an employee, payments for holidays, vacations, bonuses, etc. It also lists regulations about notice period, trial period, obligations on the part of the employer and employee.

    Firing employees without just cause can attract severe penalties for the employer. An employer has to pay compensation for the notice period even if an employee is fired for just reasons.

  • CAFTA Treaty

    The Costa Rica Government has signed The Central American Free Trade Treaty (CAFTA) which is based upon a three-step approach to improve the working conditions in the country. In fact, Costa Rica working conditions are as good as those in America and Europe.

    The three-step approach includes ensuring effective enforcement of the Costa Rica labor laws, close co-operation with the International Labor Organization to improve existing labor laws and their enforcement, and developing local capacity, expertise and infrastructure to improve employees' rights. The CAFTA is a groundbreaking treaty that includes targeted training programs in the areas of child labor, public awareness of worker rights, and labor inspection systems.

  • Labor Unions

    Labor Unions do exist in Costa Rica but the employee rights are so well defined and well protected that there are very few strikes. There is a close co-operation among monitoring groups and employers to consistently develop models for improving working conditions.

  • Employee Rights

    Employers cannot curtail employee benefits by hiring migrants or foreigners without valid papers. The Costa Rica Labor Code covers even domestic staff. The Labor Code recognizes both written and oral employment contracts.

    It is assumed that both the employer and employee would stand by the obligations and rights stated in the contract as established by the Costa Rica law.

  • Remuneration, Salary, and Wages

    The employer and employee may agree to a salary but it cannot be less than the amount established for the specific duties by the Minimum Wages Decree that is adjusted by the Costa Rica at intervals of six months. Payment of salary can be after pre-decided intervals after a week, fortnight, or month, but not more than a month.

  • Employment for Foreigners

    Foreigners who wish to work in Costa Rica have to obtain a work permit. Their employer has to justify that they possess a skill set that is not available in the local labor force. A work permit is also granted to foreign employees of foreign companies that have been contracted by the Costa Rica Government to work on projects in the country.