Payment of the Christmas bonus in Costa Rica

The Christmas bonus is an “additional salary” that must be paid by any employer to workers, regardless of their activity, within the first twenty days of December of each year.  The Christmas bonus is a right that all workers have, regardless of their mode of payment. This right is granted to workers who have worked for at least one month for the same employer on a continuous basis, as well as to those who work under a fixed-term contract or for a specific work and those who work for days and hours per week. The Christmas bonus must be paid to the employees by the employer within the first 20 days of December, in case of noncompliance with this term or if the Christmas bonus is delivered incomplete to the employee, it will be considered as an undue withholding of the salary and a serious breach of the employer’s obligations under the contract. Likewise, the employer may be subject to the fine provided by law, depending on the damages caused and the number of workers employed.

For the calculation of the Christmas bonus, it is required to estimate one twelfth of all the ordinary and extraordinary salaries earned by the worker during the twelve months from December 1 of the previous year to November 30 of the year in question, which is obtained from the sum of such salaries and divided by twelve.

The amount of the Christmas bonus that corresponds to the worker must not be reduced in any way, nor social charges; only the amount for alimony, if applicable, can be reduced. Also, in accordance with Law number 2412, which creates the Christmas bonus in the private sector, establishes that this right is exempt from income tax and is also unseizable.

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