Next December, many Costa Rican workers will receive their aguinaldo or “thirteenth month.”

The Christmas bonus is the additional payment received by every salaried worker for having worked for the same employer for more than one calendar month. Their payment is mandatory by law and is applicable to salaried workers in the public and private sectors if they work part-time, full-time, or hourly, of whatever kind they are and whatever the way in which they perform their work.

The maximum date for the payment of the Christmas bonus is the first twenty days of December of each year. If the employer does not comply with the above, he may incur an infraction of undue withholding of salary, which is a serious offense and will be credited with the fine established by law.

For the calculation of the bonus, all ordinary and extraordinary salaries, salary in kind, overtime, commissions, and any other incentive that the worker has accrued, from the period between the first of December of a year to the thirtieth of November of the following year, must be added, the resulting amount is divided by twelve and this result is the amount that must be paid for the bonus.

If the worker does not work the full year, in the same way, the calculation of the Christmas bonus is obtained, d the average of the salaries and other amounts indicated, divided by twelve, the result will be the amount of bonus that corresponds to the salaried worker.

The period during which the worker is incapacitated due to illness, given the suspension of the employment contract, cannot be considered for the purposes of calculating the Christmas bonus.

In the case of women who enjoy disability due to maternity leave, the calculation of the Christmas bonus is made on one hundred percent of their salary and is the only case of a disability that is considered for the purposes of calculating the Christmas bonus.

However, if during her pregnancy, the woman becomes incapacitated due to illness, these periods are not considered for the calculation of the Christmas bonus. The Christmas bonus may not be the subject of compensation, sale, or assignment, nor may it be seized, except for alimony.

To conclude, it is important to know that the Christmas bonus should not be reduced for social charges, taxes, or income tax.