Costa Rica Labor Law

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Public Services

Does Costa Rica Labor Code apply to public services?

Public Services

The Costa Rica Labor Code has special provisions for employees in public services. The employee contract for workers in the public services covers payment of benefits and other provisions. However, the laws do not cover those who are elected to office, management panels, trusts, etc. In most cases, public service employees too receive an employment contract defining their emoluments and nature of service. Here is a summary of the section of the Costa Rica Labor Code applying to staff of public services:

  • Definition of Employees in Public Services

    The Costa Rica Labor Code defines employees of public services as those individuals who work for the Costa Rica State and its institutions. These employees provide material, intellectual, or both kinds of services. There is no discrimination among employees on the basis of gender. Their appointment made by competent government authority or official, or included in the Costa Rica Government's budget or payment schedules.

  • Exceptions to the Labor Code for Public Services

    Posts that are exempted from the Labor Code for public services include employees from:

    Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer and Head of the National Budget Office, Directors and aggregates the country's embassies and legations abroad, diplomatic representatives of the Republic and Secretaries, consuls, the Attorney General's Office.

    Private Secretaries of Ministers and employees of personal service, to the Governors, the Secretary to the President of the Republic and trusted employees directly under to him the major officials of the Ministries.

    Chief Political Agents and Assistant Principal of Police, Civil Guard, members of the Fiscal Guards, Military Police, Presidential Guard, personnel of Prisons and Prison Officers and Inspectors of the Directorate General of Traffic.

    General Directorate of Detectives, the Departments of Foreign and residence cards and Immigration and Passport and, in general, to all those who are high on active duty weapons.

    These employees, even though in public service, shall be covered by special agreements, laws, and decrees of the Costa Rica Government. However, labor rules that apply to officials in these services should be consistent with the overall Labor Laws of Costa Rica keeping in mind the nature of their office.

  • Compensation on Dismissal

    Employees in the public services are not entitled to compensation if they are dismissed from employment according to just causes as defined in Article 81 of the Labor Code and in accordance with provisions of Costa Rica law, decrees, or internal work rules relating to government agencies.

    Apart from compensation, if compensation is paid by error for the notice period then the Attorney General's Office shall recover the amount according to the legal procedure. However, proper compensation is to be paid if an employee is dismissed from service because of an unjust reason. In that case, all the regular Labor Code regulations for compensation would be applied.

    Nevertheless, the Costa Rica Labor Code regulations also specify, that employees of the Costa Rica public services cannot enjoy any exemption, benefits, compensation, if they are involved in any instance of criminal liability or wrongdoing and are, therefore, dismissed from employment.