If you require workers for a brief or small project or want to explore the market before committing fully, you can hire employees through a professional employer organization in Costa Rica. The PEO payroll company becomes the legal employer, handling legal obligations and payroll, while you retain control over tasks and working hours.
Investors often use a Professional Employer Organization in Costa Rica as a stop-gap to start working while registering a company. A PEO is also known as an employer of record (EOR), although there are some key basic differences.
Professional Employer Organization’s in Costa Rica deliver comprehensive HR solutions, handling payroll, benefits administration, and employee recruitment as a co-employer. Opting for a PEO in Costa Rica means entrusting your HR responsibilities to an external provider.
On the other hand, EORs in Costa Rica assume the legal employer role for your foreign-based employees. Costa Rica EORs take charge of labor compliance on behalf of your employees in the country.
Why use a Professional Employer Organization in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica is renowned for being one of the most stable and prosperous nations in Latin America, boasting impressively low rates of violent crime within the region. Additionally, it enjoys one of the highest levels of gross national income (GNI), standing at $12,310 per capita in 2021 (all figures in USD).
This remarkable GNI was achieved following nearly four decades of consistent growth, with the gross domestic product (GDP) experiencing only a single annual decline between 1981 and 2019, ultimately reaching $61.8 billion by the end of this period. This makes using a Professional Employer Organization in Costa Rica of importance.
Costa Rica’s robust growth, political stability, and low crime rates have made it an attractive destination for expatriates, tourists, and foreign investors alike. In 2021, the country registered more than $3.9 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI).
The nation boasts a thriving technology sector, a well-established professional services industry, and highly-developed tourism and agriculture sectors. It also possesses a strong manufacturing base. Costa Rica produces critical exports such as pharmaceuticals, electrical machinery, and medical equipment.
Costa Rica has taken significant steps to boost its competitiveness by introducing new incentives to attract foreign direct investment across the country, particularly in emerging regions. This includes the signing of nine government decrees which focus on strengthening territorial competitiveness and streamlining administrative processes. This makes it even easier to use a PEO in Costa Rica.
The law introduces 11 incentives aimed at promoting territorial development in sectors such as agroindustry, food industry, light manufacturing, tourism infrastructure, and services. These measures aim to stimulate investment and create employment opportunities in regions outside the Greater Metropolitan Area, where nearly half of the country’s population resides. The regulations provide a secure framework for both domestic and foreign investment projects, contributing to the creation of formal, high-quality jobs across different regions of Costa Rica. These reasons make it significant to use a Professional Employer Organization in Costa Rica.
If you have an interest in conducting business in one of Latin America’s most stable and prosperous countries, continue reading to gain insights into how utilizing a professional employer organization in Costa Rica could be the ideal choice for you. Alternatively, feel free to reach out to us now to discuss your business options.
Table of Contents
Why hire via a professional employer organization?
A professional employer organization (PEO) in Costa Rica can handle salaries and benefits while you maintain control over tasks. This allows market entry without company formation.
This option is ideal for short-term or limited-scale operations, avoiding complex company setup and dissolution. It also accelerates operations and market understanding.
A Costa Rican PEO has a recruitment network and local job market knowledge, enabling rapid workforce acquisition based on desired profiles.
Furthermore, the Professional Employer Organization in Costa Rica acts as your legal representative, ensuring compliance and providing guidance on regulatory updates.
Hiring through a PEO is cost-effective compared to company formation, facilitating swift market entry and exit.
Responsibilities of the Costa Rican Payroll Company include:
- Crafting and executing employment agreements.
- Managing recruitment and documentation.
- Calculating and disbursing salaries.
- Ensuring compliance with benefits and leave requirements.
Advantages of hiring via a Professional Employer Organization in Costa Rica
There are several advantages to hiring through a professional employer organization in Costa Rica:
1. Legal representation: Your chosen PEO Payroll Company in Costa Rica will act as your legal representative, handling matters concerning the workers they hire on your behalf. Their team of corporate and employment lawyers will address any issues and represent you before local authorities if needed.
2. Compliance: When you sign a services agreement with a Professional Employer Organization in Costa Rica, you receive the assurance of compliance with all local laws and regulations. This ensures your company maintains good standing with local authorities and avoids any fines or penalties.
3. Recruitment: Your professional employer organization in Costa Rica possesses a well-established recruitment network. This enables them to quickly find suitable staff. Their recruiters also have extensive knowledge of top local educational institutes and courses. This allows them to effectively evaluate potential candidates.
4. Rapid market entry/exit: Hiring via a Professional Employer Organization in Costa Rica offers the advantage of swift market entry. Once the right individuals are identified, you can commence work within days. This is especially true for entry-level positions. Likewise, exiting the market is streamlined, following the statutory notice period required by the workers. This agile approach enables quick market entry and exit.
Cons of Hiring through an Employer of Record in Costa Rica
Cost Considerations: While the administrative convenience offered by EORs is valuable, it comes at a cost. Companies must carefully assess the financial implications of using an EOR, as their fees might be higher than an in-house HR department or partnering with traditional staffing agencies. Businesses should weigh these costs against the benefits to determine the most suitable approach for their specific needs.
Limited Control over HR Functions: Outsourcing employment functions to an EOR means relinquishing direct control over certain HR processes. This lack of control can affect the quality of candidate selection, employee management, and cultural fit within the organization. When selecting an EOR, companies should conduct thorough due diligence and ensure their values and goals align.
Potential Communication Challenges: Working with an Employer of Record in Costa Rica
in a foreign country like Costa Rica may lead to language and cultural barriers. It is common for EORs to have multilingual capabilities, but miscommunication or misunderstandings can still occur, affecting day-to-day operations and employee satisfaction. Establishing clear communication channels and regular progress reviews can help address these challenges.
Perception and Employer Branding: Some businesses might worry that hiring through an EOR could lead to a perception that the company lacks a local presence or commitment. This concern could impact employer branding and the ability to attract top talent. Companies should consider how hiring through an EOR may affect their reputation and explore ways to address these concerns through transparent communication and active involvement in the local business community.
Engaging an Employer of Record in Costa Rica presents a range of advantages, encompassing compliance support, administrative simplicity, talent acquisition assistance, and operational flexibility. Nevertheless, it is vital for businesses to prudently assess the potential drawbacks, such as costs, limited control over HR functions, communication challenges, and potential impacts on employer branding.
By conducting comprehensive research, diligently selecting a reputable EOR partner, and carefully evaluating the pros and cons, organizations can make a well-informed decision regarding the suitability of an EOR for expanding their operations in Costa Rica. By considering these factors, businesses can effectively navigate the intricacies of the Costa Rican employment landscape and position themselves for successful growth and enduring prosperity.
Legal Framework Governing Employers of Records in Costa Rica
The legal framework governing Employers of Records in Costa Rica comprises various labor laws and regulations that define the rights and obligations of employers, employees, and EORs. Understanding this framework is essential for businesses considering hiring through an EOR in Costa Rica. Here are the key aspects of the legal framework:
- Labor Code
- Employment Contracts
- Social Security Contributions
- Taxation and Payroll Compliance
- Employment Termination
- Health and Safety
Labor Code: The Labor Code of Costa Rica regulates labor relations in the country. It outlines the rights and obligations of employers and employees, covering aspects such as working hours, minimum wage, social security, and termination of employment contracts. EORs must comply with the provisions outlined in the Labor Code to protect workers’ rights.
Employment Contracts: Employment contracts in Costa Rica can be written or verbal. However, it is advisable to have written contracts that specify crucial details such as job description, working hours, compensation, benefits, and duration of employment. EORs play a vital role in ensuring that employment contracts comply with the requirements of the Labor Code and other relevant regulations.
Social Security Contributions: EORs in Costa Rica must contribute to the social security system on behalf of their employees. These contributions cover health insurance, retirement benefits, and other social programs. Employer of Record is responsible for managing and ensuring the accurate calculation and payment of these social security contributions on behalf of the employer and the employees.
Taxation and Payroll Compliance: The Costa Rican tax authorities require EORs to comply with their regulations. They are responsible for calculating and deducting the appropriate income tax and social security contributions from employee salaries. EORs also ensure the accurate filing and payment of these taxes to the tax authorities, relieving the hiring organization of the administrative burden associated with payroll compliance.
Employment Termination: The Labor Code establishes the grounds and procedures for terminating employment contracts in Costa Rica. To avoid legal disputes EORs should follow legal requirements when terminating an employee’s contract. Under the Labor Code, termination can be based on mutual agreement, expiration of the employment contract, disciplinary issues, or economic reasons.
Work Permits and Immigration: If hiring foreign employees through an EOR, it is necessary to comply with the immigration laws and regulations of Costa Rica. EORs assist in obtaining the required work permits and visas for foreign employees, ensuring compliance with immigration requirements.
Health and Safety: Employers, including EORs, are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment. They must comply with Occupational Health and Safety regulations, including implementing safety measures, necessary training, and ensuring compliance with workplace health and safety standards.
Businesses need to work with Employers of Record that understands Costa Rica’s employment laws when hiring through them. These EORs ensure compliance with labor laws, taxation, and other regulatory requirements, minimizing the risk of legal issues and ensuring a smooth employment process for employers and employees.
How to use a payroll calculator
If you are keen to get an idea of the possible costs involved in payroll outsourcing in Costa Rica, using a payroll calculator is one way to get a very good estimate.
Because while a payroll calculator won’t be completely accurate, it will give you the opportunity to search according to the salary, the number of employees, the country you want to enter, and the currency you wish to work in. As such, you will be able to understand your likely costs across a range of salaries, while also being able to compare other countries as potential alternative destinations.
You can find the BLH payroll calculator at the bottom of our Hiring & PEO Services page. The calculator will allow you to make good estimations of the costs involved in hiring in Latin America and the Caribbean based on country, currency, and salary, with the calculator factoring in local statutory deductions.
To use the BLH payroll calculator, you will need to undertake the following steps:
Step 1: Select the country
Choose the country where you are doing business, or planning to launch. This feature will be useful when it comes to comparing potential alternative markets.
Step 2: Select the currency you wish to deal in
You can choose between US dollars (USD), British Sterling (GBP) and Euros, as well as the local currency for the country you are looking at, based on that which is most convenient to you. Note that for Ecuador, El Salvador, and Panama, the local currency is also USD, as they have dollarized economies.
Step 3: Indicate an employees monthly income
Here you can indicate the expected salary you will be paying an employee, in the currency of your choice.
Step 4: Calculate your estimated costs
Based on all of the information you have provided, you will receive results indicating your estimated costs, including a breakdown for estimated statutory benefits you will be liable for.
Step 5: Compare your costs to other options
With a good estimate at hand of how much your staff in Costa Rica would be, if you are flexible about your expansion into Latin America and the Caribbean, you can use the BLH payroll calculator to compare those costs to other jurisdictions.
Common FAQs when hiring through an Employer of Record (EOR) in Costa Rica
Based on our experience these are the common questions and doubts of our clients.
You can hire an employee by incorporating your own legal entity in Costa Rica, and then using your own entity to hire employees or you can hire through an Employer of Record (EOR), which is a third party organization that allows you to hire employees in Costa Rica by acting as the legal employer. Meaning you do not need a Costa Rican legal entity to hire local employees.
A standard Costa Rican employment contract should be written in Spanish (and can also be in English) and must contain the following information:
-ID and address of the employer and employee
-City and date
-The location where the service will be provided.
-Type of tasks to be carried out
-Remuneration and bonifications/commissions (if applicable)
-Method payment frequency
-Duration of the contract.
-Additional benefits (if applicable)
The mandatory employment benefits in Costa Rica are the following:
-Working tools necessary to carry out the work (if applicable)
-Payment of social security contributions (health, pension, and labor risks).
-Social benefits (severance pay, Christmas bonus, maternity, or paternity leave).
-Paid time off (vacation and a day off).
-Transportation allowance (if applicable)
-Overtime and surcharges (if applicable)
For more information on mandatory employment benefits read our recent article on Employment laws in Costa Rica
The total cost for an employer to hire an employee in Costa Rica can vary based on the salary; however, indicatively the employer cost for mandatory employment benefits is 26.3% over the employee’s salary approximately, which is additonal to the employee’s gross salary.
Please use our Payroll Calculator to calculate employment costs.
Biz Latin Hub offers hiring & PEO services in Costa Rica
At Biz Latin Hub, our team of multilingual hiring and PEO experts in Costa Rica has vast experience in sourcing, recruiting, and handling payroll for qualified personnel on behalf of foreign investors. We offer a comprehensive range of back-office solutions, such as legal, accounting, commercial representation, and company formation services. With our expertise, we can serve as your sole point of contact to oversee your market entry and ongoing operations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we have a presence in 17 other countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, providing our services in those markets too.
The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.