Monday 6 February 2023

It’s December, the ‘Aguinaldo’ month!

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QCOSTARICA – A thirteenth salary, or end-of-year bonus, in Costa Rica called the “Aguinaldo”, is an extra payment given to employees in December. The amount of the payment depends on a number of factors, it usually matches an employee’s monthly salary.

It is a common employment standard around the globe, though how it works depends on the employment law of a country. If your company is employing globally, you will need to understand the ins and outs of this practice.

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In Costa Rica, every employee, both public and private, who has worked for more than one month is entitled to receive the Aguinaldo. For simplicity’s sake, it is calculated from all remunerations received from December 1 of the previous year and up to November 30 of the payment year, and divided by 12.

The aguinaldo is payable by the private and government sector by not later than December 20, otherwise, they are exposed to fines and sanctions.

The Ministry of Finance confirmed this Monday that it will deposit on Friday, December 2, a total of ¢232.622 billion colones to 228,863 workers, including active officials of the Central Government and pensioners.

“The deposit (payment) will be made before what is established in the payment schedule, because the date scheduled for it by the National Treasury coincides with the transfer of the holiday for the Abolition of the Army, from December 1 to 5,” the Finance Ministry stated in Monday’s statement.

The Aguinaldo is not subject to any type of withholding, except for pensiones alimentarias (family support payments), which will be deposited between December 6 and 9.

Q tips for your Aguinaldo

  • Do not dedicate 100% of your Aguinaldo to consumption. Put some away to face increased coming our way in 2023 or unforeseen events
  • Prioritize expenses. What needs to be paid now? Marchamo, school supplies and fees, urgent home repairs, may be at the top of your list before other expenditures
  • Get rid of credit card debts. Pay off any loans.
  • Don’t get carried away on Christmas and New Year’s expenses; resist the urge to offers
  • If you choose to vacation, plan a few days off during the low season, when rates are lower
  • Avoid falling prey to scammers, they know you got cash in your pockets and you can be sure they have been planning of new way to get you hand to them
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Brief History

According to Wikipedia, in Italy it was originally named ‘gratifica natalizia’ (“Christmas bonus”) being a voluntary donation without any obligation that the employer recognized to its employees when entering the Christmastide and was legalized in the 1937 collective labor agreement for factory labor and was extended to all kind of works in 1946 and by presidential decree in 1960.

In Latin America, the thirteenth salary is also known as “prima” in Spanish (bonus). It is mandatory in: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. In Chile, it is a customary payment.

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