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Costa Rica – International Workers’ Day -Both A Right and A Privilege-
Publications || 2019 || Costa Rica – International Workers’ Day -Both A Right and A Privilege-

Costa Rica – International Workers’ Day -Both A Right and A Privilege-

by charbds, 29 April, 2019

April 29, 2019
Cristian Acuña / cacuna@bdsasesores.com
Attorney at law BDS Asesores

Our country is on the eve of commemorating once again International Workers’ Day, a celebration that originated from major social struggles over decades which marked a milestone in history, to such extent that several demonstrations take place every year on May 1st to advocate for the protection of workers’ rights – which are considered infringed even to date – and so that people’s voice is heard.

Besides the social conquests commemorated by May 1st in our country, some of today’s accomplishments which are considered “standard”, including work shifts, minimum wage, special protection of minority groups, payment of Christmas bonus, vacation entitlements, among many other rights, must be protected by employers and workers alike on a daily basis so that such rights are maintained and keep meeting the purpose for which they originally emerged. Employment relationships must be performed in social peace and equality – which are some of the particularities May 1st has as a holiday under our legal framework – and must be honored in line with the essence of this specific commemoration.

Article 148 of the Labor Code regulates certain aspects of May 1st as a mandatory holiday. If due to any circumstances employers require their employees to work on May 1st  – which may be possible taking into consideration the globalized world in which we are living that forces companies to operate on a 365/7 basis – such day of work must be paid at double the employee’s ordinary rate.

As for the possibility to grant compensatory time off so that the worker may enjoy May 1st holiday on any other day, it must be reminded that this is strictly prohibited as this is not a discretional matter for employers and employees; if the employee works on this holiday, this day of work must be necessarily compensated at double the ordinary pay, regardless of whether the employer decides or not to grant the employee a compensatory day of rest as a supplementary benefit that in no event should replace the double pay compensation.

It should be reminded that on May 1st we celebrate the essence of human’s disposition to work, and that each right has been achieved through the fight and sacrifice of hundreds of people. Therefore, we should not infringe in any manner the enjoyment and remuneration of this holiday; on the contrary, employers and employees alike should join in celebrating this national holiday and commemorate the accomplishments of our ancestors and, of course, follow the path for a full protection of every working person, as work is both a right and a privilege that involves the true source of wealth to which all persons have access just for the simple reason of our existence as human beings. A wise man once said: “A man is not poor because he has nothing, but because he does not work.” (Montesquieu)

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