Costa Rica | Congress Passes New Fiscal Plan

New Legislation Enacted

On December 4, 2018, Law No. 9635, known as the “Law for the Strengthening of Public Finances” was published in the official gazette. As part of its objective, to overhaul Costa Rica’s tax system to address the country’s fiscal deficit and grant new sources of income to the government, this law creates new income tax brackets for employees with higher salaries and introduced many changes to limit benefits for public employees. Other provisions, such as the new value-added tax and taxing on some service providers, could impact the cost of hiring independent contractors or outsourcing companies.

Nicaragua | Minimum Wage Increase for Free Zone Employees

New Order or Decree

On January 1, 2019, the minimum wages for employees working in companies located at Free Zones will increase by 8.25%. This is the third consecutive year that this increase takes place, after a June 2017 agreement between representatives from management, employees and the government was reached.

Panama | National Assembly Approves Data Protection Bill

New Legislation Enacted

On October 24, 2018, the National Assembly of Panama approved Bill No. 665, for the protection of personal data. This bill seeks to protect the personal information volunteered by individuals to different platforms and services, so that their data cannot be handed over to third parties without express authorization or court order. The bill must be signed by the President and published in the official gazette before it goes into effect.