San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Chinchilla Launches Campaign for Minimum Wage Compliance

In a country where the cost of living is increasingly outpacing salaries, Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla is undertaking an effort to ensure that everyone receives the minimum wage.

Currently, the minimum wage is ₡7,200 ($14) per day for an unskilled worker and $921 per month (or about $30 a day) for a worker with a bachelor’s degree.

However, benefits, including mandatory contributions to the Caja, can double workers’ base salaries, often putting a strain on small businesses.

The minimum wage was raised on July 27 by 3.41 percent, affecting some 1.5 million workers.

According to the University of Costa Rica’s Economic Science Research Institute, 30 percent of Costa Rica’s private-sector employees currently do not receive minimum wage (TT, Aug. 6), a statistic Chinchilla would like to change.

“The (campaign) we launch today – a universal call for compliance with the minimum wage – is a jumping-off point for a nationwide policy that also addresses … the educational, social and economic components of this complex problem,” Chinchilla said during a Monday morning press conference.

Calling underpayment of wages “one of the most distressing social problems facing Costa Rican families,” she said she will pursue a series of actions to ensure that every worker receives a salary above their respective minimum wage.

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