Household in Costa Rica
Employing full-time domestic help in the United States can cost you an arm and a leg. A young woman cleans my house in
Atlanta. a process that takes about three hours and charges $8. In Costa Rica, the charge for a live-in maid is usually less than
$200 a month! And maids in Costa Rica will not only clean but some will cook, do laundry, and iron clothes. They also act as a
great theft deterrent during the Day and live-in help is easy to find through the classifieds or through word-of-mouth, but you
should always ask for references and check these references out thoroughly.
If you do decide to hire domestic help, there are some local labor laws you must follow. All domestic help has the right to
Social Security benefits from the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, as well as maternity benefits, an annual bonus, and
severance pay. Live-in help cannot be asked to work more than twelve hours a day; day workers, eight hours. The employee
must be given at least one- half day off each week, a fifteen-day paid vacation after fifty weeks of continuous service, and
half-days on New Year?s Day, Christmas, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, May 1, and September 15. If the employee works on
these days, an additional half-day?s salary must be paid.
A pregnant employee is entitled to one-month leave before the birth and three months after, at half her usual monthly
wage. An annual bonus equivalent to four weeks salary is paid to employees who have worked from December 1 through
November 30, usually around Christmastime. A dismissed employee is allowed all wages due, payment for unused vacation
time, and the proportionate yearly bonus. An employee who leaves of his or her own accord is not entitled to severance pay.
Domestic help should be registered with the Caja, or the Department of Inspections. The employer must bring identification
such as a passport, as well as the employee?s cedula (an identification card issued by the government) and a description of
the job and wages. The employer is supposed to pay 24 percent of monthly wages to the Caja.
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