means more cash for workers in private jobs A service of A.M. Costa Rica
means more cash
for workers in private jobs
Special to CR Business
(Jan. 11, 2012) Minimum wages went up Jan. 1, but most employees will
not see the
increase until payday at the end of this week. The increase is
3.17 percent over the salary paid in the last half of 2011.
The amount was set after negotiations between employer and employee
groups before the Consejo Nacional de Salarios. The decree specifying
the amount appeared in the La Gaceta official newspaper Dec. 8.
The pay increases involve only private employees. The salary scale for
public employees is yet to be determined in most cases. However, the
Poder Judicial has awarded some increases of as much as 14 percent.
Among these is the job category to which taxes and fines are keyed, an
auxiliar administrativo 1.
The Consejo Superior del Poder Judicial approved the increase, which
took effect Jan. 1. The new base salary is 360,600 colons or about
$714.77, up from 316,200 colons or about $626.76. Many laws cite this
job category as the base for financial transactions. That is because
historically the Costa Rican colon has been subject to inflation, so a
specified amount would erode. This is the base salary to which traffic
fines are keyed, for example. And it is the base salary to which the
new tax on corporations is keyed.
A 14 percent pay raise represents a significant amount because the
Poder Judicial also will have to pay the Christmas aguinaldo at that
level. In addition, The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social takes a
bite that costs employees 9 percent and employers 21 percent, although
the percentage varies slightly based on the size of the firm or agency.
The government has been under criticism for not paying the amount it
owed to the Caja. Union members at the Caja said the amount involved
was enough to build a handful of hospitals.
The central government is clearing its debt, but it is paying the Caja
in government bonds instead of cash.
Each private job category has its own minimum wage in Costa Rica. With
the new pay scale, they range up from as little as 7,883.92 a day for
the least qualified worker. That is about $15.63 at the current rate of
exchange of 504.5 colons to the U.S. dollar.
That also is the pay of a
salonero or waiter, but that person probably will share in tips.
Depending on the job, the salary may be expressed by the day or by the
month. Those who pick coffee have a minimum based on the number of
baskets they bring in. Another variable is education level. University
grads are supposed to get 428,670.94 colons a month regardless of the
job. That's about $849.70. Many workers here are paid the minimum.
The salaries here are in no way similar to those in the United States
and Canada. For example, a Costa Rican carpenter has a minimum salary
of 8,749.38 colons a day. A tractor-trailer driver gets 10,486.02 a day
as a minimum. That's $20.79 and considerably lower than what the
Teamster's Union would consider a fair wage.
The full list of approved salaries is HERE! Another increase is likely