If you are preparing to move abroad to Costa Rica to live and take up employment you may want to familiarize your self with the average salaries of the country before you arrive. You may also want to know what type of employment benefits you can expect from your Costa Rican employer. Depending on where you are from you may be in for a bit of a shock when you get to Costa Rica as the salaries in Costa Rica are lower on average than those in Europe and the United States.
Before looking at the average salaries you can expect in a variety of fields in Costa Rica is important to point out that while the salaries are lower than what you would enjoy in Europe or the United States, the cost of living in Costa Rica is also considerably lower than in the United States and Europe. For non skilled workers in Costa Rica the minimum hourly wage is around $1.85 per hour. For semi skilled workers in Costa Rica the minimum hourly wage is around $1.95 per hour. For skilled workers in Costa Rica the minimum hourly wage is around $2.10 per hour. High school level technicians in Costa Rica have a minimum hourly wage of around $2.30 per hour. Specialized workers in Costa Rica have a minimum hourly wage of around $2.45 per hour. College technicians in Costa Rica have a minimum hourly wage of around $2.80. If you hold a Bachelor’s degree in Costa Rica you can expect a minimum wage of around $3.45 and hour. And if you have an advanced degree, or a Licenciatura degree, then you can expect a minimum wage of around $4.15 per hour. These figures are accurate for the sectors of Mining, Agriculture, Construction, Industry, Manufacturing, Commerce, Electricity, Services, Tourism, Transportation and Storage. The minimum hourly wage is comprised of 26 percent benefits, 8.33 percent bonus, 8.33 percent severance, 3.85 percent vacation and 2.47 percent holidays.
If you work overtime in Costa Rica it is paid at time and a half. All employees in Costa Rica are entitled to a Christmas bonus, called an Aguinaldo, which is equal to one month’s salary. This is paid usually during the first 20 days of December. Typically it is calculated as an average of the previous year’s salary.
Employment contracts are the norm in Costa Rica. If a contract is terminated the employee is entitled to layoff compensation. If the employer terminates a contract without cause the employee gets a month of salary for each year worked for the employer for a maximum of 8 years. Employees are entitled to two weeks of vacation for every 50 weeks of employment in Costa Rica. Maternity leave is granted for a month before birth and up to three months after birth.
Employers have paid and unpaid holidays that are observed. Employees cannot be forced to work on holidays. If it is discovered that an employer has done that the employer is fined and forced to pay the employee double. Employees that agree to work on holidays are paid double time.
Unpaid holidays are Virgin of Los Angeles Day on August 2nd and Culture Day on October 12th. There are eight paid holidays. They are: New Year’s Day on January 1st, Juan Santamaria Day on April 11th, Jueves y Viernes Santos, Labor Day on May 1st, Anexion del partido de Nicoya a Costa Rica on July 25th, Motherday and Asuncion de la Virgen on August 11th, Independence Day on September 15th and Christmas on December 25th.