, With the exception of El Salvador, all Central American countries implemented increases in minimum wages in 2024

With the exception of El Salvador, all Central American countries implemented increases in minimum wages in 2024

Costa Rica leads the Central American region with a 1.83% increase in the private sector’s minimum wage, effective since January 1st. Despite being modest in percentage terms, this increment raised the minimum wage to CRC$ 358,609.50 (US$687), keeping Costa Rica as the country with the highest minimum wage in the region. For instance, an unskilled worker earns around CRC$11,953.65 (US$23.3) per ordinary workday, while a university graduate receives at least CRC$ 765,985 (US$1,496).

The increase was agreed upon in the National Salary Council and is mandatory for all private sector minimum wages. Furthermore, additional adjustments were made for different job categories, such as Domestic Service, Semi-skilled, Jornada Qualified, and Specialized Workers.

Meanwhile, other Central American countries also implemented minimum wage increases in 2024. Guatemala adopted two economic areas to define increases, with an average minimum wage of US$456.8. Honduras reached an agreement establishing increases ranging from 5.5% to 7%, considering the number of employees and the industry. In Nicaragua, a 10.1% adjustment was applied starting March 1st, although its average minimum wage is the lowest in the region, approximately US$221.9.

Panama, likewise, experienced a 4.5% increase in small businesses, a 6.0% increase in large businesses, and a 7.0% increase in banana sector companies. This translates to a simple average of US$636.80, as of the second half of January, 2024. The Dominican Republic implemented, in February 2024, the second part of the increase approved by the National Salary Committee (CNS) in 2023, setting the minimum wage as follows: for workers in large companies US$422.84, for workers in medium-sized companies US$387.61, and for workers in small companies US$259.75.

El Salvador, on the other hand, experienced its last 20% increase in August 2021, setting its minimum wage at around US$365, making it an exception in the 2024 increases across the region.

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