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 all the nation s workers receive 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 Social Security System, 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, Aug. 9, 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 every worker receives a salary above their respective minimum wage.

Chrissie Long

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