The labor ministry has posted the new minimum wages by job category for the first half of 2015. The list is HERE!
The new salaries show an increase of 2.01 percent over the scale that was in effect for the last half of this year. The one exception are domestic workers who received a 2.5 percent increase. The new monthly minimum salary for domestic workers is 169,142.26 colons, about $317.
The complexity of the salary scale can be seen by the five levels for secretary. The monthly salaries in colons range from 320,961.11 (about $602) to 608,355.75 (about $1,141).
Periodistas are at the top of the list with a monthly minimum salary of 750,481.33 colons (about $1,408). Near the bottom of the list are coffee pickers who get 29.77 colons per kilo of beans and stevedores who load boxes of bananas (1.30 colons per) and those who are paid by ton (80.78 colons per).
Education is a key indicator of minimum salaries. A graduate of the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje receives at least 336,344.36 colons ($631) regardless of specialty.
Someone with a university licenciado or master’s degree gets 608,355.75 (about $1,141) regardless of the job.
Salaries differ dramatically from First World standards for craftsmen. Here an electrician gets 10,531.09 colons ($19.76) a day. That is the same as for an experienced gardener. A welder gets a daily wage of between 10,531,09 colons and 12,421.15 colons ($23.30), depending on the assignment.
The Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguro Social contains a salary council that arbitrates the twice-yearly raises between labor and management.
The higher salaries for persons with advanced educational degrees generally excludes them from many jobs.
Just because there is a minimum salary does not mean that employers cannot pay more for key workers. However, many work for the minimum because the salary is just the start.
Employers also know that they must pay the monthly quota for the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. That can be as much as 26 percent of the salary paid while the employee pays about 9 percent. Then there is the mandatory aguinaldo or 13th month Christmas bonus. In addition, employers have to pay for workman’s compensation insurance in which the premium is based on salaries.
Some employers try to avoid these costs by claiming a worker is a contract employee. A visit from a labor ministry inspector can dash these hopes.