Costa Rica Labor Law

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Vacation and Holidays

Costa Rica Labor Code on Vacation and Holidays

Vacation and Holidays

The general provisions of the Costa Rica Labor Code cover regulations applicable to employees and employers in reference to working hours, vacations and holidays. Working hours cannot be more than eight hours a day, six hours a night, and 48 hours a week.

  • Weekly Holidays

    All employees are eligible for weekly holidays and public holidays apart from the vacation time they earn according to the months of service. Public holidays – as announced by the Government – are considered paid holidays with payment being the same as that of any other working day. Non-Christian employees are allowed to request their employer for weeks offs on a day other than Sunday depending upon their religious requirements. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists the days that might be allowed as a weekly off to non-Christian employees.

    Exceptions to Weekly Offs

    Employers cannot make employees work on weekly holidays except for the following instances within the framework of the legal stipulations:

    Establishments for selling alcoholic beverages

    Hotels, bars, pharmacies, cafes, bakeries, snack bars, restaurants, taverns, inns, theaters, public galleries, cinemas, etc.

    Establishments selling items of general utility like vegetables, milk, fruits, gasoline, etc.

    Hair salons and barbers in the capital can close only on Thursday, Fridays, and Sunday.

    Employees required working for repairing damage due to accidents, mishaps, or technical reasons, etc.

    work necessary or urgent for the establishment to function

  • Paid Annual Leave

    Two weeks for every 50 weeks of work is the annual paid leave for all employees. An employee is entitled to one day's wages or earned leave which shall be compensated thus if the services of an employee are terminated before the completion of a year's work. There are detailed rules for medical leave, etc. also. In some cases, where private companies have drawn up their own specific employment contracts with their employees, some conditions for vacations might be different. However, in no case can employee contracts be completely beyond the scope and spirit of the Costa Rica Labor Code that upholds the rights of employees. Regular public holidays, weekly off, and other types of leave cannot be counted as part of the earned vacation time of an employee.

  • Paid Public Holidays

    The usual paid public holidays include January 1, Easter Thursday and Friday, April 11, May 1, July 25, August 15, September 15, and December 25. Employees who earn a salary are also paid for the August 2 and October 12 holidays though, wage-earners need not be paid for these two days. The Labor Code also states that employees who have to work on Sundays or statutory holidays will have to be paid as double work days.

  • Holidays and Vacations for Domestic Employees

    The main system of granting holidays and vacations does not apply to domestic employees like cooks, maids, etc. They are entitled to some holidays, vacations, etc. but these vary depending upon individual employment contracts. However, they are entitled to at least a half day off on paid holidays, and at least a half day off for every week of work.