Maid in Costa Rica
If you are planning to have a maid in Costa Rica or employees of any sort, you need to know the following applies to you.
LEGAL OBLIGATIONS BY THE EMPLOYER IF THE RELATIONSHIP IS CONSIDERED A LABOR RELATIONSHIP
Although all measures possible to try to characterize the relationship as out of the reach of local labor law are taken, the type of activities that will be performed certainly pose a high risk of being considered by a local Labor Court, if a dispute arises, as constituting a regular labor relationship between the parties.
If that happens, it is important to have a clear picture of the obligations that will materialize for the employer, which mainly consist in penalties for the lack of registration of the employees before the local Social Security Administration, as well as the payment of all labor related compensations to which regular employees are entitled under Costa Rican labor law, namely: vacations, Christmas bonus (also called thirteenth month), right of notice of termination and severance pay.
Below are the details for each of the above:
With regards to vacations, besides holidays and Sundays, the employee is entitled to two weeks of paid vacation for each fifty weeks worked or, in cases of contracts that terminate before such 50 weeks, a day for each month worked. Vacations can be divided, but only in two segments.
Upon termination of the employment contract, unused vacation time should be paid using as a base the average of salaries earned during the last six months.
Employees must be paid a bonus of one month’s salary after a year of work (“aguinaldo”), or an amount proportionate to the time worked, if it less than a year.
Right of notice of termination
After three months of employment, an employee has the right to receive notice in the event of termination of employment without just cause by the employer (if notice is not given, he must be paid one month’s salary, or a fraction if he has been employed for less than one year).
If the worker is fired without justification after at least three months of service, the employer has to pay a severance payment whose amount increases in accordance with the time served and could be up to twenty two days per year worked, with a maximum calculated on the basis of eight years, all according to a specific calculation table indicated by the Labor Code.