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Official Vacation days and Holidays in Costa Rica


Official Vacation Days and Holidays in Costa Rica

Learn which Official Vacation days and Holidays in Costa Rica are paid and which are not. (updated 21/11/2016)

Many of you have never had any employees and if you did, the rules were quite different. Welcome to Costa Rica, the land of sunshine and the end of your worries.

But…… have no worries, you can learn all you need to about the rules here.

When you move to Costa Rica, for sure you will have a full time maid and a gardener, or at least part time. These employees will be part of your new lifestyle. That means you will have to pay them for their efforts and they have the right to holidays.

When you live in Costa Rica, you will probably hire a maid or a gardener and you will have to give them vacation days and holidays. If you plan to have a business in Costa Rica, the rules are generally a bit different than in your home country. It all depends on how often you pay the employee: by the week, fortnight or by the month.  This article will explain what your obligations are on vacation days and holidays.

This article was written as a service to those who live in Costa Rica or plan to move to Costa Rica by Easy Properties in Costa Rica. Having a maid or a gardener in Costa Rica is part of your cost of living. So you need to be informed about these vacation days and holidays rules. To purchase Costa Rica real estate contact us now.

 

Official vacation days Costa Rica
The housekeeper also needs her vacation days and holidays

Holidays in Costa Rica

What are holidays in Costa Rica? Holidays are those days that according to the law should be granted to every working person to participate in special celebrations, whether civil, religious, social or historical.

There are two types of holidays:

Paid Holidays (Mandatory Holidays)

It is mandatory to pay employees on these days and give them the day off. If the employee still has to work, the day is paid double.

  • 1st of January (Circumcision-New Year)
  • 11th of April (Juan Santamaria Day)
  • Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (in April)
  • 1st of May (Labor Day)
  • 25th of July (Annexation of Nicoya)
  • 15th of August (Mother’s Day and the Assumption of the Virgin)
  • 15th of September (National Day: Independence of Costa Rica)
  • 25th December (Birth of Jesus Christ)

Unpaid Holidays (NOT mandatory)

The following days are not mandatory and do NOT have to be paid if taken off:

  • 2nd of August (day of the Virgin de los Angeles)
  • 12th of October (Columbus Day)

 

Official Holidays Costa Rica
Your gardener also needs vacation days and holidays

Which holidays are moved to another date by the Government?

Officially, only the 12th of October can be moved to another day. When this day falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, the employer must have the employee work that day. Then, the holiday should be moved to Monday.

If these are companies that are open on Saturdays and Sundays and can not stop its work on Monday, the employees will have their holiday on the day agreed on with the employer. Provided that their holiday is given within a period not exceeding fifteen days from the date of the official holiday. The other holidays are enjoyed on the corresponding day.

Is the employee obliged to work on a holiday?

All workers are entitled to enjoy the holidays, whether wages are paid monthly, fortnightly or weekly. In principle, it is forbidden to oblige the employees to the workers to work on holidays. No matter is payment is mandatory or not mandatory.

What happens if an employee does not work on the holiday?

If salary is paid weekly and you’’re not dedicated to a business/commercial business, only the mandatory holidays have to be paid. The non-mandatory holidays are not paid unless the employee works.

If the payment is monthly or bimonthly in any activity or even weekly in business/commercial, you must pay all the holidays. No matter if those holidays are mandatory or not. For this reason, when the holidays are not worked, the employer is not required to pay the worker any additional sum.

What if the employee works on the holiday?

There is a marked difference between employees in the commercial sector and the private sector.

Non-commercial activity

If payment is weekly you should pay a double salary if it is a mandatory holiday.

You should pay the normal salary when a holiday is not mandatory.

Commercial activity

If the payment is monthly, bimonthly or  weekly, you should double pay for the holiday worked.

You should pay the normal salary when a holiday is not mandatory.

How should I pay the employee that works on a weekly rest day?

  • The mandatory holiday that falls on that day of rest must be paid in a normal salary.
  • If the holiday is not mandatory, the payment has not to be made.
  • If they are employees with weekly pay and it is not a business/commercial activity, since normally that day is not being paid.
  • If the employees are paid for every day of the month (thirty days), you should not add anything for a holiday, since it is already paid for in the regular salary.

How should you pay the holiday if the employee works overtime?

If the salary is monthly, the regular working hours should be paid double. And for each hour of overtime 1.50 (one and a half time) but calculated on double time, corresponding to the holiday worked. This will be calculated as follows:

For example: If the normal working day is paid ¢ 10.000.00,  you add another ¢10.000.00 to complete the double payment. Then divide ¢20.000.00 ÷ 8 (hours) for the dual time is ¢ 2,500.00 and then multiplied by 1.5 =¢ 3.750.00. This sum is to be added for each hour of overtime.

If it is paid weekly (on non-commercial activity), it is the same calculation if it i’s a mandatory holiday. When the holiday is not mandatory you calculate over the normal payment and not the double.

How many days vacation?

Every working person is entitled to two weeks of vacation equal to twelve days plus two days of rest at least every fifty weeks of continuous work, serving the same person or employer. This is regardless if the working week eight hours, six hours, half day or an hour a day or several days a week.

Official holidays in Costa Rica
Every working person is entitled to two weeks of vacation equal to twelve days plus two days of rest at least every fifty weeks of continuous work

How to calculate the payment for vacation?

The vacation is calculated based on the average of ordinary and extraordinary wages received during the last week in the case of agricultural work. Or during the last fifty weeks in any other activities, counted from the moment that the worker acquires the right to have holidays. The payment will also depend on the method of payment.

  • Weekly pay: you must pay twelve (12) days a year, because the day of rest is not paid in this salary. The calculation is done by taking the weekly salary divided by 6 and multiplying the result by 12.
  • Monthly or fortnightly: you must pay fourteen (14) days, since the payment includes two days off per week. The calculation is done by taking the monthly salary divided by 30 and multiplying the result by 14.
  • In the case of commercial/business activities: even if the form of payment is weekly for the purposes of the following formula, take the weekly salary divided by 7 and multiplying the result by 14.

Should the vacation be taken without interruption?

Employees should have no interruption of their vacation period. The vacations can be divided into two parts:

  • When the employer and the employee both agree
  • Provided that the nature of work does not permit a very prolonged absence of the employee.

Who has the authority to set a date to the vacation?

The employer shall indicate the period in which the worker can enjoy the vacation. This must be done at least fifteen weeks before the day that the employees has worked the first fifty weeks of continuous service (11.5 months). And trying not to alter the smooth running of your workplace, or the effectiveness of rest.

Can you compensate the vacation?

The vacation absolutely cannot be compensated except:

  1. When you end the employment relationship
  2. When the work is casual or piecework.
  3. When for some reason justified the worker has not enjoyed their vacation. The employee may agree with the employer to pay the excess of the minimum of two weeks vacation for every fifty weeks. If not exceeding the equivalent of three cumulative periods. This compensation may not be granted if the worker has received this benefit in the previous two years.

Can the employee accumulate vacation time?

It is prohibited to accumulate holidays, except when the worker performs technical work, management, of trust or similar. This makes it difficult especially to the replacement. Or when the family residence is situated in the province other than the place where it provides services.

Do we need written evidence of vacation days taken?

Yes we do. The dates of leave, and accumulations that are agreed upon, to the extent provided by law, must be a written record at the request of the employer or the employee. If not in a written record, is presumed until proven otherwise, that the vacation have not been given.

How many vacation days correspond to an employee before the fifty weeks?

Proportional enjoyment fulfilled before the fifty weeks is not allowed by legislation. Only if the contract of employment ends before reaching the fifty weeks. In case of resignation or dismissal of the worker, the employee shall be entitled to receive payment settlement for one day for each month worked.

Can an employee be given notice during the vacation period?

Yes. Because the employment relationship is in force. But only provided that it is an employee who is enjoying the vacation days earned with the fifty weeks of continuous work. In case the vacation days are an advancement, it would not be appropriate.

Do employees who practice a religion other than Catholicism have additional rights?

Working people who practice a religion other than the Catholic religion, in addition to the eleven public holidays listed above are entitled to celebrate their religious festivals. To do so they may ask the employer to grant them no more than four days off per year. Provided that such days are registered in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship. These days will not be paid, but may be discounted as holidays, by agreement between the employer and the employee.
Official vacation days and holidays in Costa Rica
All workers are entitled to enjoy the holidays, whether wages are paid monthly, fortnightly or weekly.

What happens if the employee has a different religion than the holiday is celebrating?

If the employer decides to close the business any other day, for reasons of religious faith, not set by law, workers should be paid the salary for that day, as if they had worked.

Can a disability affect the enjoyment of a vacation?

If a disability is suspended during the employment relationship.
If this article about Official Vacation days and Holidays in Costa Rica has been of help, we appreciate your real estate business.
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Ivo Henfling

Ivo Henfling started the American European Real Estate Network Costa Rica in 1996 and has grown it into the largest Costa Rica MLS with thousands of up to date property listings for sale and for rent. Ivo has written hundreds of articles about real estate and living in Costa Rica for The Tico Times and other online informational sites.

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