The complete guide to offering employee benefits in Costa Rica


Mar 30, 2023

When hiring employees in Costa Rica, benefits are a crucial piece of the puzzle. You want to offer employees a benefits package that's attractive to them and meets their needs—and, most importantly, it needs to meet the minimum requirements for mandatory employee benefits in Costa Rica. Running afoul of labor laws by failing to offer statutory benefits could mean government penalties and fines, the risk of costly legal action, and more.

Here's everything you need to know to offer a benefits plan that meets statutory requirements under Costa Rican labor laws—and how to go above and beyond for your employees in Costa Rica.

What employee benefits are mandatory in Costa Rica?

Mandatory benefits programs are required by Costa Rican law. Below, you'll find an overview of all the benefits that employers must provide to stay compliant with labor laws in Costa Rica.

It's always important to keep in mind, though, that the benefits required by the government of Costa Rica are statutory minimums. Employers can always offer more than the mandatory benefits—and many do, to attract and retain the best employees. Also, note that these benefits are mandatory for employees—independent contractors in Costa Rica aren't entitled to any benefits.

Social security

All Costa Rican employers are required to contribute to social security, known as Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, CCSS, or just Caja, for all of their employees. The typical employer contribution is 26.67% of the employee's salary.

Social security in Costa Rica covers national healthcare, parental leave, pension, disability, and employment insurance.

Unlike in many countries, many statutory benefits are split between employers and social security. For example, paid sick leave is a mandatory benefit for all employees in Costa Rica, but instead of paying a sick employee's full salary, employers share that cost with the social security system (more on that below).

Worker's compensation

Employers are also required to pay into labor risk insurance (seguro de riesgos del trabajo) for all their employees. This is the equivalent of worker's compensation insurance, meant to cover employees in case of work-related accidents or injuries. Employers pay into the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS), which handles labor risk insurance claims and payouts.

Overtime pay

The standard work week in Costa Rica is 48 hours at eight hours per day. Any work over 48 hours in one week is considered overtime. Employees can work overtime, but no more than four hours per day (for a total of 12 hours of work per day).

Under Costa Rican labor laws, overtime is paid at 150% of the employee's regular wages. If they're working overtime on holidays or their weekly rest days, they're paid 300% of their regular wages.

Notice periods and severance pay

Notice periods and severance pay both have minimum statutory requirements based on the length of the employee's service.

The legally required notice periods are below:

Length of employee's service

Notice period

0-3 months

No notice required

3-6 months

One week

Six months to one year

15 days

More than one year

One month

Minimum severance pay amounts are below:

Length of employee's service

Severance pay

0-3 months


3-6 months

Seven days of pay

Six months to one year

14 days of pay

One year

19.5 days of pay

Two years

20 days of pay

Three years

20.5 days of pay

Four years

21 days of pay

Five years

21.24 days of pay

Six years

21.5 days of pay

7-9 years

22 days of pay

10 years

21.5 days of pay

11 years

21 days of pay

12 years

20.5 days of pay

13 years or longer

20 days of pay

Vacation leave

The minimum paid leave for Costa Rican employees is 12 working days (or two full work weeks) every year. Full vacation leave is mandatory for any employees who have worked at least 50 continuous weeks.

For employees who have worked less than a year, vacation time accrues at a rate of one day per month.

There is no statutory requirement for employers to roll over or pay out unused vacation time—this is determined by each employee's contract.

13th month salary

Costa Rican employees are entitled to a statutory 13th month salary payment, sometimes called a Christmas bonus or aguinaldo. Payments must be made by Dec. 20, equal to the average monthly salary from the previous 12 months (December through November). If an employee has worked less than a year, their 13th month payment should be prorated.

Statutory holidays

Employees in Costa Rica are entitled to several national statutory holidays. There may be other recognized public holidays depending on their region.

Below are the statutory holidays observed nationally in Costa Rica.



New Year's Day

Jan. 1

Maundy Thursday

Thursday before Easter

Good Friday

Friday before Easter

Juan Santamaria Day

April 11

Labor Day

May 1

Annexation of Nicoya

July 25

Virgen de los Ángeles

Aug. 2

Assumption of Mary

Aug. 15

Independence Day

Sept. 15


Dec. 25

Parental leave

In Costa Rica, parental leave is a shared cost between employers and social security.

Pregnant employees are entitled to four months of maternity leave—one month before their due date and three months after—paid at 100% of their usual salary. Employers and social security split the cost evenly for the full four months. Maternity leave can be extended for up to three months for medical reasons—this cost is covered in full by social security.

As of 2022, all fathers in Costa Rica are entitled to eight paid days of paternity leave: two days per week for the first four weeks after their child is born. This cost is also shared evenly between employers and social security.

Sick leave

Sick leave is another statutory benefit with costs shared between employers and social security.

For the first three days of any illness, employers are required to pay 50% of an employee's salary, while social security pays the other 50% (provided the employee has made enough contributions). If an illness lasts longer than three days, social security pays 60% of the employee's salary each day; the employer is no longer required to pay.

What employee benefits are optional in Costa Rica?

All the benefits we've covered so far are statutory minimums that must be provided. But they aren't limits—employers can offer more than these benefits to make their companies more attractive to Costa Rica's top talent. Below are some common supplementary benefits in Costa Rica.

Supplemental health insurance plans

While Costa Rica offers national public healthcare for all residents, supplemental health benefits are a common perk. Private insurance grants access to private facilities and care, and because premiums are typically affordable (ranging from $60 to $250 per month), it's becoming more customary for employers to offer additional healthcare as a benefit to attract and retain the best workers.

Voluntary pensions plans

Costa Rican social security includes a basic pension to be paid out to workers who are elderly or retired. Voluntary pension plans are another common supplemental benefit, designed to help employees save more for their golden years.

Holiday bonuses

Vacation premiums or holiday bonuses aren't statutory in Costa Rica like they are in some Latin American countries. That's why they've become a common supplemental benefit offered by employers who want to be as competitive as possible.

Meal vouchers

Some Costa Rican employers choose to offer meal vouchers, especially for employees who are expected to work on-site. These vouchers help offset the cost of buying meals during work hours.

Transportation stipends

Transportation stipends are another increasingly common perk for Costa Rican employees. These stipends help offset the cost of getting to and from work.

Tuition reimbursement

For employees in Costa Rica who are enrolled in university (or plan to enroll), tuition reimbursement is an attractive benefit. While not required, this can encourage employees to learn new skills and get degrees and certifications that make them more valuable to their employer, which is why some companies choose to offer this benefit.

Work from home allowances

In the age of remote work, it's becoming more and more common for employers all over the world, including in Costa Rica, to offer work from home allowances. These optional benefits can help remote employees outfit their home office or cover utilities like home internet or their mobile phone bill.

How to hire employees overseas and offer them affordable benefits in minutes—with Rippling

Running a global workforce isn't easy. It can be a challenge for global companies just to keep their benefits compliant—let alone managing offer letters, equipment, payroll, and everything else global employees and contractors need.

That's why, if you're going to hire employees, contractors, or remote workers globally, you need Rippling. Rippling makes it easy to onboard, manage, and pay employees and contractors around the world—in one system that's always compliant with local employment laws and regulations.

See Rippling in action today

Disclaimer: Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: March 26, 2024

The Author

The Rippling Team

Global HR, IT, and Finance know-how directly from the Rippling team.