Employers should be aware that, in Costa Rica, October 12, is “Cultures Day”. However, our Labor Code considers this both a “Holiday of Non-Compulsory Payment” and the only public holiday that must be deferred to the Monday of the following week when it falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. This means that this year, because Cultures Day falls on a Wednesday, it must be taken on Monday, October 17, 2016.

The rules applicable to holidays of compulsory and non-compulsory payment vary depending on the employee´s payment structure.

  • If the employee has an hourly or weekly payment structure (wages) and does not work on a holiday of non-compulsory payment, the employee is not entitled to any pay for the day off. However, if the employee agrees to work on a holiday of non-compulsory payment, our Labor Code states that the day is considered a normal working day and so the employee will be paid for a normal day’s work.
  • If the employee has a monthly or bi-monthly payment structure (salary), or works in the commercial sector, his salary includes each day of the month; thus, an employee can take the holiday off without loss of pay. However, if an employee works on a holiday, this holiday is treated as a ‘holiday of compulsory payment’, which means that the employer must pay the employee an additional day’s pay to comply with the law’s double payment requirement.