The laws of Costa Rica recognize foreign workers the same labor rights as a Costa Rican national. But without accessible information, migrant workers are less able to defend themselves if they are victims of abuse within their workplace. The workplace must guarantee your rights regardless of your immigration status.
Read below about the labor rights that protect you according to the Labor Code:
Right to a written contract
Your employer has to give you a written contract that specifies the working conditions, place and hours, amount of salary, the right to social security and the payment of the labor risk policy. Here the employer must also indicate the specific tasks that you will perform in said job.
Right to a salary according to what is stipulated by law
You can consult the list of minimum wages 2023 which is the salary that corresponds to you. Your employer cannot pay you less than that.
Right to effective work days
There are four types of sessions:
Day shift: Allows you to work only eight hours a day or 48 hours a week between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Night Shift: Allows you to work six hours a night or 36 hours a week between 7:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Mixed shift: Allows you to work seven hours a day or 42 hours a week, combining day and night shifts.
Extraordinary days: known as “extra hours”, it is the time that you work outside your working day, for which you must be paid 50% more than the value of the regular hour. Your employer cannot require you to work more than four hours per day.
Labor abuses in Costa Rica, how and where to report if I am a migrant?
In Costa Rica, whether you are a national or a migrant, whether you have up-to-date documentation or not, you can file a labor complaint with any relevant authority. Any of them should ensure adequate care.
Right to rest:
You must be given one hour of rest for every eight hours you work. If you work less than eight hours but more than three, the break will be proportional to that day. You have the right to one day off for every six of continuous work. They can’t cut you that day from your salary.
Right to vacation:
You have two weeks of paid vacation after every 50 weeks of work, the dates of which you must agree with your employer. They can’t force you to give up your vacation. If they do not give them to you, they must be paid at the end of the employment relationship.
Right to holidays
You have the right to enjoy Costa Rican holidays. There are two types, those with no mandatory payment and those that do have to pay you when you take it. If you work any of the holidays, you must be paid double salary.
Right to trial period
You can terminate the employment contract without liability for up to three months. If you do it after this time, you must communicate one week in advance if six months have not passed, fifteen days if you have been working for less than a year, and one month before if you have been working for more than a year. Otherwise, you will have to pay the advance notice.
Right to notice
You must give notice before resigning. They must also give it to you if they are going to fire you without just cause to do so. If you are given notice, you are entitled to one full day off per week to look for work. That day they must pay you.
Right to payment of benefits
They must pay you benefits when you are unjustly fired, in case of resigning due to serious misconduct by your employer or someone else within the workplace or by force majeure.
Benefits include severance pay, notice payment if you didn’t get it, vacations you didn’t take, bonuses that haven’t been canceled, and pending overtime.
Right to social security
You must register with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) in the first eight days that you start the employment relationship. You can request a certification from the Central Offices of the CCSS to see if the quotas are up to date, both those that have been reduced and those that the employer must contribute.
Right to health protection in case of illness
If you get sick or need to recover from an illness, you have the right to be absent from your workplace, but you must go to a CCSS care center to be reviewed and issued a proof of disability, which you must deliver to the employer no later than 48 hours after receiving it.
Right to maternity leave and breastfeeding
The maternity leave is four months – one month before and three months after the birth. During this time, you receive an equivalent to your salary. 50% is paid by whoever hires you and the other 50% by the CCSS.
The three months after childbirth are considered the minimum period of lactation and can be extended if the doctor recommends it, but you must provide a medical certificate. If you adopt a minor, you are entitled to this three-month license.
Right to protection for occupational hazards
They must insure you before an insurance institution that covers occupational risks during the performance of your work.
Right to information
Information is a human right that helps you have resources to promote, demand and defend your rights.
Protection against discrimination
They cannot discriminate against you based on your age, ethnicity, sex, religion, race, sexual orientation, marital status, political opinion, national ancestry, social origin, affiliation, disability, union membership or economic situation.