Costa Rica


An employment contract in Costa Rica can be either written or verbally agreed. They can be fixed and open ended contracts.


The frequency of when salaries are paid is decided between the employer and employee.

HR & Labor

Working Hours: Full time employment is considered 48 hours per week. Eight hours per day between the hours of 5:00 and 19:00.
Employees working after 19:00, are considered night shift workers and they are allowed to work six hours per day and 36 hours per week. According to the Labor Law, employees working eight hours are entitled to one hour break 45 minutes of break for lunch and two 15 minutes breaks during their working hours. Employees are allowed to work maximum 4 overtime hours per day, total of 12 hours for a workday. Overtime compensation is 150% of the regular wages. Minimum Working Age: Employees between the ages 15 - 18 are entitled to work only six hours per day and 36 hours per week.


To work legally in Costa Rica, the employer must apply for a permit for the employee. The employees are given permits for their specialization. The permit is for one year and can be extended.


Employees are entitled to “aguinaldo”, Christmas bonus, which is a bonus paid within the first twenty days of December.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is between $600 - $800 depending on the level of the worker.

Severance Payments

Employees who have been terminated with a cause are entitled to the part of the Christmas bonus already earned and payment for the vacation days that have been acquired and not used. For employees who have been terminated without a cause, they are also entitled to additional payments. If they worked in the company between six months to one year, they receive fourteen days of wages, one year and more, they receive 20 days of wages.

Advance Notice

It is common practice to give the employer 30 days notice.

Termination Procedure

If an employee’s contract is terminated and he or she has not yet used the earned vacation time, the employer must pay the equivalent of one day’s salary for each month worked during the year.

Vacation Days

Employees are entitled to one day of vacation for every month of employment, and two weeks after 50 weeks of work.

Sick Days

For the first three days of an employees sick leave are paid (50% by the employer, and 50% by social security). From the 4th day the employer is not obligated to pay, and social security pays 60% of salaries. In order to receive payments the employee must submit a medical certificate to the Social Security Administration.

Public Holidays

There are 11 public holidays

Additional Employee Withholdings

Social Security

Employer contributes 34.5% .

Employees contribute 9.5%.

Social Security

Caja, the social security system in Costa Rica is mandatory and provides employees with free health care, sick leave, disability pensions and retirement benefits.


VAT is between 13 - 15% standard rate.