QCOSTARICA – It is December, also known as the 13th month, the month when all salaried employees in Costa Rica, including employees of international companies operating in the country, receive their “aguinaldo”, the year-end bonus that is usually equal to one month’s salary.
The Aguinaldo mandatory by law. For simplicity sake, the gross monthly income between December 1 of the previous year to November 30 of the current year is added up and divided by 12.
As established by national legislation, employers have until the 20th of this month to honor that labor right to their employees.
Failure to do so within this period, employers face sanctions if the worker files a complaint with the Ministry of Labor, in person, the website www.mtss.go.cr, of the mobile application ‘Trabajo CR’.
The fine ranges from one to 23 base wages, depending on the seriousness of the failure. For 2020, a base salary is ¢450,200.
This year, the amount of the bonus will be marked by a reduction in the amount to be received by workers affected by temporary suspension of contracts and reductions in working hours. The Minister of Labor, Geannina Dinarte, confirmed that both measures lower the total amount to be received by the employee.
“As part of the work protection measures that had to be taken due to the health emergency, both reductions and suspensions have been applied.
“Yes there is an affectation. We are going to see an impact on the total amount for the Christmas bonus, because a lower salary was paid or because there was no income at all (for a few months),” said Dinarte.
Although, as stated before the deadline is December 20, many private employers start paying the Aguinaldo as early as today.
Public sector employees – civil servants – will see their Aguinaldo deposited starting December 4 (Friday).
Employers must pay bonuses even if workers’ contracts are suspended. If the employee worked for more than one employer during the 12 month period of December to November, each employer is responsible for their share respective to time the employee was with them.