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The aguinaldo is a annual bonus paid to all salaried employees.

COSTA RICA NEWS — In less than a month, starting DecembeR 1, the Costa Rican economy will get a boost as some ¢714 billion colones (US$1.3 billion dollars) in “aguinaldo” will be paid out to 1.563.000 salaried employees.

The average aguinaldo or annual bonus is estimated to be ¢456.900 colones (US$838 dollars).

The data comes from the number of salaried employees and their average monthly income, estimated by the Encuesta Continua de Empleo (Continuing Employment Survey), conducted by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC) – National Institute of Statistics and Census, in the second quarter of this year.

The amount is about 8% higher than that estimated for the same period in 2013.

The aguinaldo is payable to all private and public sector salaried employees and must be paid between December 1 and 20 of each year. The Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance) announced that it will be paying the bonus to all Central government employees on December 2. State agencies and autonomous state institutions like ICE, INS and AyA, for example, directly make payments to their employees and on a different schedule.

The aguinaldo is the average of one month’s gross wage. Central government employee wages are calculated between November 1, 2013 and October 31, 2014, while those of the private sector andstate agencies and autonomous institutions betwen December 1, 2013 and November 20, 2014. For simplicity sake, the aguinaldo is calculated by summing up the gross wages during the period and divided by 12.

The Ministerio de Trabajo (Ministry of Labour) points out that in calculating the aguinaldo, employers must take into account, in addition to the regular wages, overtime and other payments made during the period.

Operational Safety
he Ministerio de Seguridad Publica (MSP), announced a three part security program to ensure that people doen’t become victims during the aguinaldo period and holiday season.

In the first phase of the security operation, that runs until November 30 – the “pre-aguinaldo” period – the director of the Fuerza Publica, Juan José Andrade explained  that there will be ‘preventive’ roadblocks and ‘cleaning up’ of areas with high incidences of criminal activity.

In the second phase, from November 20 to December 15 – Andrade explained there will be an increased police presence at banks, ATM’s and bus stops, in order to protect people who withdraw money.

The third phase, from December 1 to January 7 (2015) – called “Navidad Azul” (Blue Christmas), Andrade said there will be increased police patrols at shopping centres, supermarkets, on the roads, with special attention during the annual parades such as the Festival de la Luz (Festival of Lights) and the Tope (horse parade).

The police chief asks people, during this time of the year, to pay more attention when using ATM machines and coming out of banks, supermarkets, etc.