Tuesday, May 1, is Labor Day (Día Internacional del Trabajor in Spanish) in Costa Rica, a national holiday and the day that the sitting president delivers his formal ‘state of the nation’ report to the Legislative Assembly.

This year, as is every four years, there is a new crop of legislators starting their four year cycle of legislating and whatever else they do. It will certainly be an interesting four years given that the Partido Accion Cuiadana (PAC) hold only 10 of the 57 legislative seats (curuls in Spanish).

While the country’s politicians will be busy on May 1, the general population gets a paid no-work day. For those who have to work, they get double and triple pay.

The May 1 holiday is not a movable holiday, that is, it is taken on the day of the week it falls on. Last year it was on Monday, giving people a long weekend. This year, none of that: it’s work on Monday, off Tuesday, and back to work on Wednesday. But, surely some will have figured out how to make this holiday an extra long weekend – Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. And given that Friday before a long weekend is usually a holiday also, see where I am going here?

These are the paid holidays (feriados de pago obligatorio) in Costa Rica:

  1. January 1 – Circuncisión-Año Nuev (New Year’s Day)
  2. April 11 – Día de Juan Santamaría (celebrating Costa Rica’s Hero)
  3. Good Thursday
  4. Good Friday
  5. May 1 – Día Internacional del Trabajo (Labor Day)
  6. July 25 – Anexión del Partido de Nicoya a Costa Rica (known commonly as Guanacaste Day)
  7. August 15 – Día de la Madre (the Mother of all holidays)
  8. September 15 – Fiesta Nacional Conmemoración de la Independencia de Costa Rica (Independence Day)
  9. December 25 – Natividad de Jesucristo (Christmas Day)

The non-paid holidays (feriados de pago no obligatorio) are:

  1. August 2 – Día de la Virgen de los Ángeles (celebrates Costa Rica’s patron saint)
  2. October 12 – Día de las Culturas (race or culture day), the only that is moved to the following Monday under strict rules set out by the Ministerio de Trabajo.

The Ministry of Labor also sets out the rules for paid and non-paid holidays.

For simplicity sake, an employee who is required to work on a ‘feriado de pago obligatorio’, depending if the pay is daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, gets the day off. If they are required to work on that day, there is double and triple pay provisions.

The May 1 holiday is observed in all countries of Latin America.