San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Salary increase for private sector set at 2.35 percent with a little extra for minimum-wage earners

The National Wages Council on Tuesday evening approved with six votes in favor and three against an increase of 2.35 percent for 1.2 million workers in the country’s private sector. The percentage increase will apply to salaries for the next six months.

In addition to the 2.35 percent that will be applied starting this month, the council also approved an additional ₡5,000 ($9.25) per month for unskilled workers and those earning minimum wage, bringing the increase for the lowest-paid sector to 4.22 percent.

Minimum wages in Costa Rica vary according to profession and are set by the Labor Ministry. (Download a table of minimum wages by trade for the first quarter 2014 here.)

The six votes in favor came from government and union representatives while employers voted against it, issuing a counterproposal of 3 percent increase for all workers, which was immediately rejected.

Shirley Saborío, a member of the Costa Rican Union of Private Sector Chambers and Associations, opposed the deal and said the increases “could generate more unemployment.”

Union representatives said they are satisfied with the figure and the expeditious manner in which an agreement was reached with the government.

“We must recognize that this administration succeeded in its first salary negotiations, and – at least this time – they passed a first major test in this area despite our initial doubts,” the National Association of Public and Private Employees said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

The closed-door negotiations took place at the Labor Ministry in San José.

Contact L. Arias at

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John Morris

Few finqueros pay peones the minimum wage and the labor ministry does nothing to require it.

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