San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Initiative Seeks to Reduce Adolescent Unemployment

Representatives from the nonprofit Paniamor talked with legislators last week to promote a proposed law to reduce the unemployment rate for young people ages 15-18, according to a statement from Paniamor.

The proposed law, known as the Law of the Promotion of Juvenile Employment, is being discussed in a legislative commission. It would allow young people to have access to formal jobs without having to abandon their studies.

“Studies show that the unemployment rate for young people ages 15-18 is almost triple the national rate,” said Paniamor director Milena Grillo.

The jobs that are available to young people are characterized by low pay and a lack of opportunities for personal and social growth, the statement said.

Grillo spelled out these challenges during a presentation before legislators Sept. 7. The bill promotes youth employment by giving incentives to business that regularly contract women heads of household ages 18-25 or students at public technical schools. It also offers 5% income tax reductions for companies whose work force is made up of 5% employees between 15-18.

In Costa Rica, it is illegal for people younger than 15 to work, and this has caused confusion with many employers, who almost never hire people ages 15-18, Grillo said.

Offering employment to young people is important considering that in Costa Rica, 48% of people living in poverty are younger than 18 years old, she said.


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