Work and Wages

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.

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.

Source: §57 of the Political Constitution of the Republic of Costa Rica 1949, last amended in 2011 1949, last amended in 2011; §177-192 of Labour Code of 27 August 1943, last amended in 2014; §1-5 of the decreto Nº 38101-MTSS 26 December 2013; §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.

Source: §162, 164, 165 & 168 of Labour Code of 27 August 1943, last amended in 2014

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