Labor Law Costa Rica


At Arista, you will encounter a cadre of attorneys with specialized expertise in Labor and Employment Law, committed to delivering personalized legal counsel and representation to safeguard your rights and interests. Whether you are an employer or an employee, we recognize the critical importance of vigilant protection and assertive defense of your legal rights and interests.

Our approach is rooted in preventative legal counsel aimed at mitigating the risk of unnecessary labor litigation and enhancing the overall employment environment. This proactive methodology allows us to forestall disputes before they escalate into costly and protracted legal challenges, thereby serving the best interests of all parties involved.

Our team of legal professionals is dedicated to comprehending the unique needs and objectives of each client. We offer tailored solutions that span the gamut from drafting intricate employment contracts to resolving labor disputes, representing clients in litigation, and calculating claim amounts, among other services.

We at Arista are acutely aware that labor and employment issues can be fraught with stress and complexity. Rest assured, our seasoned professionals are committed to guiding you through the legal maze, with an emphasis on simplifying and streamlining the process to the greatest extent possible.

For specialized legal counsel in labor and employment matters, connect with our specialists. Receive personalized attention and expert guidance, meticulously tailored to meet your specific labor and employment needs.

Our Services
Preventive counseling | Labor disputes | Litigation

Today’s work environment presents significant challenges for both employers and employees, and human resource management, if not addressed, exposes all parties to unnecessary conflict and tension.

Workplace problems can have a very negative impact on employee morale and productivity, as well as the overall performance of the company or employer’s business. For this reason, it is important to deal with emergencies in a preventive and strategic manner to prevent them from becoming major and uncontrollable problems.

The associated risks can arise from a lack of proper follow-up of possible indications, and for this reason it is extremely important that our professionals can provide specific and concrete solutions on issues such as: compliance with current regulations, development of internal policies and procedures, productivity, hiring, conflicts, dismissals, social security, controls, salaries, dismissals, among others.

Arista, provides a preventive, detailed and exhaustive study, with the objective of evaluating the possible and probable scenarios, which allows us to determine preventive solutions and the implementation of control and follow-up mechanisms, anticipating conflicts can be the best investment of time and resources to avoid future unnecessary and exhausting conflicts for all parties involved.

Now, if the labor conflict has turned into a dispute, it should be clarified that labor disputes refer to disputes between an employee and his employer, which may be of different types, such as unjustified dismissal, discrimination, harassment at work, violation of labor contracts, payment of wages and social benefits, working conditions, occupational health, among others. The cases themselves can be complex and may require the intervention of lawyers specialized in labor law.

In Costa Rica, labor disputes can be resolved in different types of judicial proceedings, which involve different stages of the process, such as: filing of the claim, response, mediation, hearings for evidentiary and complementary evidence, sentencing, appeals, execution of the sentence, among others. The process may involve several hearings, testimonies, expert opinions and submission of relevant documents. Therefore, it is essential to count on our team of professionals specialized in this field to ensure the defense of your rights and interests at every stage of the process.

Ordinary and Special Procedures | Precautionary Measures

The ordinary labor process is the series of procedural acts that take place in the labor courts and tribunals of Costa Rica when an employee or an employer files a claim.

This process is governed by the Labor Code, reformed by Law No. 9343, which entered into force in 2017, and its regulations.

The process begins with the filing of a lawsuit by the employee or the employer before the labor court. The claim must contain information about the subject matter of the dispute, i.e., what is being sought to be resolved, including relevant facts, evidence, and specific claims.

Once the lawsuit is filed, the court will notify the other party and give it an opportunity to file a response and/or even allow the other party to file a counterclaim. After both parties have filed their answers and evidence has been presented, the judge will hold an oral and public hearing to see if there is a possibility of settlement. If a satisfactory settlement is not reached, the judge will hear arguments and review evidence presented by both parties.

After the hearing, the court, after evaluating all the proceedings, arguments and evidence, must issue a judgment within the time period established by law, resolving the merits of the case. With this procedural act, the stage for filing appeals against this judgment begins.

After issuing a judgment and resolving the merits of the case, the court may impose an obligation to perform or refrain from performing a certain act, i.e. it could oblige the employer to pay back wages, benefits or other compensation to the employee or, in the case of the employee, in the same manner, for example, to pay the notice not given in case of sudden termination.

However, there are also special procedures that are used in the judicial sphere to deal with cases that, due to their special characteristics, cannot be adequately dealt with by ordinary procedures. This type of procedure is used to respond to situations that require special and differentiated treatment, with the aim of ensuring effective judicial protection.

In the special procedure, the aim is to simplify the procedure, avoiding unnecessary requirements and stages that could delay the procedure and/or make its resolution more difficult. Therefore, it is adapted to the particularities of each case, establishing the necessary measures to achieve a prompt and effective resolution of the controversy. Some examples of cases that can be dealt with through a special procedure are: small claims, protection of special jurisdictions and due process, distribution of benefits of deceased workers, authorizations, procedures for the restitution of workers who suffered labor risks and reinstatement of legal origin, among others.

Also, it should be remembered that there are precautionary measures, which is an ancillary process, a judicial procedure that seeks to guarantee the object discussed in the merits of the ordinary or special work process, temporarily protecting the object discussed, in addition to the rights and interests of our clients, while a judicial conflict is being resolved.

In other words, precautionary measures are legal instruments that allow temporary protection of the rights of a person in situations where the delay in the final decision of the case may cause damage.

Some examples of precautionary measures in labor law may be the reinstatement of the employee in his job while the conflict is being resolved, the suspension of a disciplinary measure, the suspension of the effects of a disciplinary act or dismissal, the payment of back wages, or the prohibition of conduct detrimental to the employee, among others.

Review and development of internal regulations | Contracts

A work regulation and an employment contract are two different but complementary legal documents used in companies to regulate the conduct of employees and establish the terms and conditions of the employment relationship.

The work code is a set of internal company rules and policies that govern the conduct and actions of employees in the workplace. Its purpose is to ensure a safe, productive, and respectful work environment by defining the rights and responsibilities of employees and the company.

The policy may address issues such as working hours, punctuality, appropriate dress, use of electronic devices during working hours, use of the Internet and social networking sites, workplace privacy, harassment and discrimination, and other issues important to the well-being and productivity of the company and its employees.

This document is legally binding and must be respected by both the company and its employees.

On the other hand, the employment contract is a legal agreement between an employer and an employee that defines the terms and conditions of the employment relationship. This document defines the responsibilities and obligations of both parties and may include information such as the term of employment, salary or compensation, working hours, working conditions, benefits, employee responsibilities and duties, confidentiality and intellectual property obligations, causes and procedures for termination, and other provisions relevant to the employment relationship.

The contract is legally binding and protects the rights and obligations of both parties. In addition, it can be used as evidence in the event of a labor dispute or lawsuit.

At Arista, we provide high quality and effective employment contract drafting and consulting services.

We have a team of labor law experts who will advise you and provide you with the best option of regulations and contracts for your needs. The process is quick and efficient, allowing our clients to ensure that the documents comply with all applicable labor laws and regulations.

A well-structured and high quality regulation and contract allows us to protect both the employer and the employee in case of future conflicts.

Wages | Hours | Schedules | Payroll | Payoffs

Wages and working hours are fundamental issues, ensuring that wages are commensurate with the work performed, the level of experience and training of the worker, and that applicable labor laws are respected.

It is also important that employers meet their obligations to pay wages on time and in full, which is fundamental to maintaining a healthy and stable employment relationship.

Labor laws and regulations set limits on the workday and working hours, as well as the minimum wage that workers must receive for their work, in order to protect workers’ labor rights and ensure a safe and healthy working environment.

Adequate working hours and working days can, among other things, help reduce the risk of fatigue, stress and work-related accidents and improve the quality of life of workers.

On the other hand, the regulation of labor rights is a crucial issue to ensure the respect and protection of workers’ rights. The settlement must reflect in a clear and detailed manner all the concepts and amounts that the employer must pay to the worker at the end of the employment relationship, and must be in accordance with the applicable labor regulations.

It is important that employees know their rights regarding severance pay and that employers fulfill their obligations in a transparent and timely manner. At Arista, we have a team of labor law experts who will advise you and provide you with the best option for your needs, whether you are an employee or an employer.

Our specialized services include the drafting of employment contracts and the analysis of compensation schemes to ensure that they comply with applicable labor regulations and avoid possible sanctions and fines from the labor authorities.

In conclusion, salary, working hours, working time and the settlement of labor rights are fundamental aspects in any labor relationship, so it is important to count on our specialized legal advice.

Internal procedures (disciplinary, sexual and workplace harassment, other) | Reprimands | Suspensions | Dismissals | Terminations

An internal labor procedure is a set of procedural acts established by a company and the applicable legal regulations to regulate the conduct of its employees and address any violations of the company’s labor policies and standards.

This procedure is designed to maintain order and resolve a range of workplace disputes.

An internal labor disciplinary procedure typically includes a series of steps to be followed when a possible violation of the company’s labor policies and standards is detected.

These steps may include an investigation, an internal hearing or trial, and a decision or sanction. In our firm we offer specialized solutions in the implementation of internal procedures in sensitive issues such as disciplinary procedures, sexual and labor harassment cases, and others.

We have a multidisciplinary team of experts who will advise you and provide you with the best option for your needs.

At Arista, we understand that these types of procedures can generate tensions and emotional burdens to our clients, and for this reason, our lawyers specialize in making the processing of these matters as fast as possible, always protecting the rights and interests of our clients. Through our services, we ensure that your company’s internal procedures comply with applicable labor laws and regulations, which reduces the risks of possible lawsuits and sanctions.

In terms of disciplinary measures, a labor reprimand is a formal written or verbal communication issued by an employer to an employee who has violated a company labor rule or policy. A reprimand is usually the first step in the disciplinary process and is used to warn the employee of inappropriate behavior and to indicate that a change in behavior is expected.

In general, a reprimand carries no employment consequences beyond serving as a written record of the employee’s conduct.

An employment suspension, on the other hand, is a more serious disciplinary measure that involves temporarily suspending the employee from his or her job duties for a specified period of time. A suspension is applied when an employee has committed a serious infraction, such as misconduct or failure to comply with important work policies. During the suspension, the employee may be penalized with no pay and may not attend the workplace. In general, the length of a suspension is set according to the seriousness of the offense committed.

Finally, labor dismissal is the termination of an employee’s employment contract by the employer. A termination can take place for various reasons, such as poor performance, violation of labor policies, inappropriate conduct, among others.

The employer must follow the applicable legal and labor procedures to carry out a dismissal, and it is important that the reason for the dismissal is justified and supported by documented evidence.

Advice and assistance in the preparation and management of payroll (C.C.S.S.)

The preparation of the payroll before the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (C.C.S.S.) is a necessary process in order to comply with the obligations established in the current regulations and laws.

The payroll is a document that contains information on salaries, social security contributions and other employee data that must be reported and submitted to the C.C.S.S. on a monthly basis.

The C.C.S.S. is the institution in charge of administering the social security and pension system in Costa Rica. Employers must pay monthly a series of social contributions, including social security and pensions, for each of their employees.

In order to comply with these obligations, employers are required to file a declaration of work, detailing the wages earned by their employees and the corresponding contributions.

The preparation of the declaration involves the collection of detailed information on the salaries, deductions and social contributions of the employees and its submission in a specific format of the C.C.S.S. It is important that this information is accurate and submitted within the established deadlines in order to avoid fines and penalties.

At Arista, we provide quality solutions. We have a team of experts in labor law that will advise and guide you in the correct management of payroll processing.

We focus on making this process as fast and efficient as possible to avoid unnecessary costs for our clients.

Late payments, payment arrangements, waivers, penalties and interest on debts owed to the C.C.S.S.S. by employers

Employer’s delinquency refers to the employer’s failure to comply with the obligations established by law in relation to the payment of the employer’s social security contributions, school salary, profit sharing, among others.

This delinquency creates an employer debt that must be paid to avoid penalties and fines.

In order to resolve the employer’s delinquency, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (C.C.S.S.) offers the employer the possibility of negotiating a payment agreement.

This agreement establishes a payment plan to be agreed upon between the parties, according to the economic possibilities of the employer.

Forgiveness of the employer’s debt may also be an option, but is applied only in exceptional cases and under certain conditions established by the C.C.S.S.C.

Fines and interest are penalties imposed on the employer when the employer is in default. The C.C.S.S.C. applies an interest rate and a fine for each month of delay in the payment of the employer’s obligations.

These fines and interest can accumulate and significantly increase the employer’s debt.

At Arista, we provide quality solutions. We have a team of experts in labor law who will advise and guide you in the correct management of payments and agreements with the C.C.S.S..

We focus on making this process as quick and efficient as possible to avoid unnecessary costs for our clients.

Calculation of work rights

The calculation of labor rights is a process that is carried out when an employee leaves his/her job and is entitled to receive compensation for vacation, Christmas bonus, notice, severance pay, and any other right acquired for the time worked in the company.

In order to calculate an employee’s labor rights, it is necessary to collect detailed information about the time worked, base salary, and bonuses received during the time he/she was with the company. Once this information is obtained, the appropriate calculations can be performed to determine the amount to be paid to the employee for his or her work rights.

In some cases, employment rights calculations can be complex and require the advice of our employment law experts. It is important that the calculations are done correctly and the corresponding rights are paid to avoid legal problems and penalties in the future.

At Arista, we have a team of employment law experts who will advise you and provide you with the best process and solution for your needs. We have a team of lawyers specializing in the calculation of labor rights that will allow you a fast and efficient process.

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