Youth Employment

Information about the work opportunities and regulations for teenagers, students and school leavers in Costa Rica...

The minimum legal age of employment in Costa Rica is 15. From that age onwards, no form of permission is required from institutions, parents or guardians. Any employee from the age of 15 is permitted to sign a contract of employment.

It is illegal to employ adolescents (15-18) for dangerous or inappropriate jobs. These include working in establishments where alcohol is served and high-risk jobs involving electrics, power tools and heavy lifting.

The working hours permitted for an adolescent are six hours a day and 36 hours a week, while a working shift cannot go beyond 22:00. Night shifts for adolescents (between 19:00 and 07:00) are prohibited.

Rights for youth employees

Youth employees have the same rights as adult employees with regard to days off, bonuses and public holidays.

Youth employees also have the right to receive the minimum wage for a normal working day. Their salary should be paid either into a savings account or in cash; payment cannot be made by check, as the National Banking System (Sistema Bancario Nacional) does not allow for this kind of transaction for adolescents.

Employees should also be provided with adequate job insurance in case of injury or illness. An employee should therefore be covered in the form of either a Seguridad de Póliza de Riesgos del Trabajo or a Seguridad de Responsabilidad Civil.

Adolescent employees should also be given access to a pension scheme, which means being included in the social security system - Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (C.C.S.S.)

  • For a full description of youth employment laws: Click here

More detailed information can be acquired from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social):

The National Institute of Apprenticeships (Instituto Nacional de Aprenizaje) provides support for adolescent job seekers.