Changes to Costa Rica’s Labor & Employment Laws: What You Need to Know

Costa RicaOn January 25, 2016, Costa Rica’s Labor Procedure Reform (RPL) was signed into law. The law overhauls nearly half of Costa Rica’s labor and employment laws, is the first major reform since 1943, and will come into effect on July 25th. Below are a few of the changes.

First: Employers who wish to terminate an employee will now be required to personally deliver to that employee a dismissal letter that clearly outlines the facts underlying the dismissal. The letter is admissible as evidence in court.

Second: Prior to the reforms, there was no limit to when an employee could claim to have suffered an unjustified change in the terms and conditions of employment and a limit of one year for a terminated employee. Now claims must be filed within six-months, regardless of employment status.

Third: The new law makes it easier for employees to strike. Going forward only 35% of the employees have to vote to initiate a strike and the vote must be ratified by 50% of the workforce plus one employee.

Fourth: Formerly, employment disputes had to be litigated in written form, which often meant that disputes would reside with courts for up to 10 years. Now they can be litigated orally, in two hearings. And, in most cases, the judge must make a ruling at the end of the second hearing.

Fifth: The reformed code puts union status and economic status under protection from discrimination, and discrimination by employees can now be considered as grounds for dismissal.

Sixth: Working mothers who allege a denial of their maternity rights are entitled to receive free legal assistance.


If you have employees in Costa Rica, take time to familiarize yourself with the Labor Procedure Reform (RPL) and be sure that your procedures are updated to be in full compliance by July 25th. For information on other aspects of Costa Rican employment law, like public holidays, maternity and sick leave, and taxes, visit our page on Costa Rica in our Countrypedia.

If you would like to discuss how Globalization Partners can provide a seamless employee leasing or PEO solution for hiring employees in Costa Rica, please contact us at