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Costa Rica

World bank, 2019
Poverty headcount ratio at $5.50 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population)
11%
Population below international poverty line

Varies by skill and education level

variable
National minimum wage

Equivalent to 446,085 Costa Rican colónes per worker per month.
Global Living Wage Coalition, 2021

595
per month
Rural living wage
World bank, 2019
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate)
12%
Agricultural workforce
World bank, 2019
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)
4%
Agriculture share of GDP

ITUC Global Rights Index, 2021
Repeated violations of rights

2
low
Risk to workers' rights

Context

Costa Rica has a population of roughly 5 million people[1] with 19% living in rural areas[2] and 81% living in urban[3] settings. Approximately 12% of the workforce is in the agricultural sector.[4] Agriculture, forestry and fishing represent roughly 4.3% of Costa Rica’s GDP.[5]

Costa Rica has experienced a rapid urbanization process. In 1990 half of the population lived in rural areas. By 2019 that number had decreased to 20% of the population. Even so, agriculture plays an important role in rural areas where it is the largest employer and poverty rates remain high.[6] The agricultural sector in Costa Rica has a dual structure that includes an established export sector, dominated by large-scale industrial scale farms, and a more traditional sector characterized by small-scale farms.[7]

Costa Rica’s primary products by quantity are sugar cane, pineapples, bananas, fresh cow milk and palm oil fruit.[8] The top export commodities in terms of quantity are bananas, pineapples, prepared fruit, palm oil and raw sugar.[9]

Footnotes
  1. ^ World Bank. (2020). https://data.worldbank.org/country/costa-rica
  2. ^ World Bank. (2020) https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.RUR.TOTL?locations=CR
  3. ^ World Bank. (2020) https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.URB.TOTL.IN.ZS?locations=CR
  4. ^ World Bank. (2019). https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.AGR.EMPL.ZS?locations=CR
  5. ^ World Bank. (2020) https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NV.AGR.TOTL.ZS?locations=CR
  6. ^ OECD. (2019) Agricultural Policies in Costa Rica, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264269125-en
  7. ^ OECD. (2019). Agricultural Policies in Costa Rica, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264269125-en
  8. ^ FAOSTAT (2019). http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#rankings/commodities_by_country
  9. ^ FAOSTAT (2019). http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#rankings/commodities_by_country_exports

Wages

Minimum wage

The minimum wage in Costa Rica is set by law and varies by skill and education level. The minimum wage applies to all workers, both Costa Rican and migrants. The minimum wage rate varies from a low of 317,915 Costa Rican Colónes (424 EUR) per month for generic unskilled workers to a high of 682,607 Costa Rican Colónes (910 EUR) per month for university graduates.[1] 

The law sets workday hours, overtime remuneration, days of rest, and annual vacation rights, but some of these rules exclude the agricultural sector. When there's imminent risk of harming the harvests and work cannot be suspended or workers substituted, these employees can work for more than 12 hours with no resting day. Systematic violations of labor rights and provisions concerning working conditions, overtime, and wages in the export-processing zones were reported by labor unions, and the Labor Ministry publicly recognized that many workers, including in the formal sector, received less than the minimum wage, mainly in the agricultural sector.[2] 

Living wage

The Global Living Wage Coalition has developed a Living Wage benchmark for rural Costa Rica, based on the Anker methodology, for the provinces of Limón and Heredia.

The gross living wage estimate is set at 446,085 Costa Rican Colónes (595 EUR) per month,[3] meaning that generic workers fall short of a living wage. In addition, many workers, including those in the formal sector, earn less than minimum wage, especially in rural areas, where monitoring of compliance rates is less stringent.[4]

 
Footnotes
  1. ^ WageIndicator Foundation. (2020). https://wageindicator.org/salary/minimum-wage/costa-rica
  2. ^ U.S. Department of State. (2020). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Costa Rica. https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/costa-rica/
  3. ^ Global Living Wage Coalition. (2021) https://www.globallivingwage.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Updatereport_Costa-Rica_May2021_13Sept2021-FINAL.pdf
  4. ^ U.S. Department of State. (2020). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Costa Rica. https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/costa-rica/

Working conditions

Agricultural employment is vulnerable due to variability in production and exports, and the informality of the sector. Informal labour is estimated at 60% of all agricultural employment in 2014.[1]

Migrant workers

Costa Rica’s agricultural sector employs many migrant workers, who represent a significant share of the informal labour in the sector.[2] Most of the migrants come from Nicaragua to work on the plantations and face the highest risk of insecure working conditions. In the pineapple industry, it is estimated that approximately 70% of workers are Nicaraguan migrants.[3]

Footnotes
  1. ^ OECD. (2017). Agricultural Policies in Costa Rica, OECD Publishing, Paris http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264269125-en
  2. ^ U.S. Department of State. (2018). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Costa Rica. https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/costa-rica/
  3. ^ Banana Link. (2020). https://www.bananalink.org.uk/why-pineapples-matter/
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Updated Living Wage, Rural Costa Rica

Update in the living wage estimate for rural Costa Rica in Limón and Heredia Provinces, focussing on the banana industry.

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