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Aguinaldo in Costa Rica

What is Aguinaldo?

Aguinaldo in Costa Rica was developed to help the workers deal with the additional costs associated with the Christmas and New Year’s seasons and is the “holy grail” of bonuses paid once a year in December by every employer. It’s an additional paycheck, commonly known by locals as the “13th month’s pay”, that must be given to all regular workers regardless of work performance or job quality because it is based on the paid gross wage.


When it’s December, it’s time for Aguinaldo, the year-end employee holiday bonus. Remember, Aguinaldo is not a perk but a requirement under Costa Rica labor law. The Aguinaldo is so significant that the Ministry of Labour will step in to represent an employee when an employer fails to make a payment by the deadline. Strict penalties apply to an employer that fails to pay an employee. There is no way for the employer to avoid paying this benefit; it is still paid even if the employee is fired or quits.



How is Aguinaldo paid?

The calculation of the Aguinaldo is based on the employee’s average salary over the year. The average salary is calculated by dividing the total amount of salary earned over the year by 12. The Aguinaldo payment is then equal to one month’s worth of this average salary. Aguinaldo’s calculations require adding all paid gross wages per employee—including overtime, double time, commissions, maternity leave, etc.—removing absences and sick leave from December 1st of the prior year through November 30th of the current year and dividing the result by 12. If an employee quits the company before November 30th, the Aguinaldo is calculated until the last day of work.


Note: Aguinaldo is not based on the employee’s current salary but rather their average salary over the year. This means that even if an employee received a raise or promotion during the year, their Aguinaldo would still be based on their average salary from the start of the year.



When Do I Pay Aguinaldo?

Aguinaldo will be paid to employees during the first 20 days of December. Always obtain the employee’s signature as confirmation on a written declaration of the amount to be received before issuing a payment.


The History of Aguinaldo in Costa Rica

The tradition of aguinaldo in Costa Rica can be traced back to the 1940s when the government enacted legislation to ensure workers received additional pay during the holiday season. Since then, the aguinaldo has become a well-established and much-anticipated benefit for employees in Costa Rica.


Legal Requirements for Aguinaldo in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the aguinaldo is required by law and is governed by the Labor Code. According to the code, employers must pay a minimum of one-twelfth of an employee’s total salary for each month worked in the year.


Our Solution

It is safe to state that if you have employed someone over the year, even for a short period like a week or a day, there is a strong probability they may knock on your door looking for their bonus.

At Grupo Gap, we recognize that Christmas may be a financially challenging time for business owners who must pay the mandated one-month Christmas bonus that is Aguinaldo.

Our private lenders provide collateralized loans to those who need them for these costs and more. For instance, a lender provided a loan to a business owner last year so that they could pay Aguinaldo to their employees. The loan for $150,000 USD was approved because they used a property’s equity worth more than double the loan amount requested as collateral.


If you have a property, you could use as collateral and need a loan, complete our loan request form and let us help you make your Christmas holidays stress-free!



The Christmas bonus, or aguinaldo, is a mandatory and much-anticipated benefit for employees in Costa Rica. Its history and legal requirements ensure that workers receive additional financial support during the holiday season and are recognized for their contributions to the company. Suppose you’re an employer in Costa Rica. In that case, it’s important to understand the requirements and calculations for aguinaldo to ensure that you comply with the law and treat your employees fairly.


Loans for aguinaldos in Costa Rica are an excellent option for those needing financial assistance during the holiday season. By carefully considering the abovementioned factors, you can find the right loan for your needs and get the support you need to enjoy a happy and stress-free holiday season.

Gap Equity Loans is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more about your loan options and get started on the path to financial stability.

-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of Grupo Gap)



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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the interest rate for Aguinaldo loans with Gap Equity Loans?

    The interest rate for Aguinaldo loans with Gap Equity Loans will vary based on factors such as your credit score, employment status, and loan amount. However, we offer competitive interest rates to help you manage your finances more effectively.

    What are the repayment terms for Aguinaldo loans with Gap Equity Loans?

    At Gap Equity Loans, we offer flexible repayment terms to help you find a loan option that works best for your financial situation. Our loan specialists will work with you to find a repayment plan that fits your needs.

    How quickly can I get approved for an Aguinaldo loan with Gap Equity Loans?

    Our loan application process is quick and easy, and you can typically get approved for an Aguinaldo loan with Gap Equity Loans within a few business days.

    Do I need to provide collateral for an Aguinaldo loan with Gap Equity Loans?

    Depending on your financial situation, you may need to provide collateral for an Aguinaldo loan with Gap Equity Loans. Our loan specialists can help you determine whether collateral is necessary based on your individual needs.

    Can I use an Aguinaldo loan from Gap Equity Loans for personal expenses?

    Yes, you can use an Aguinaldo loan from Gap Equity Loans for personal expenses such as holiday shopping, travel, and more.

    Can businesses apply for Aguinaldo loans with Gap Equity Loans?

    Yes, businesses of all sizes can apply for Aguinaldo loans with Gap Equity Loans.

    What documents must I provide to apply for an Aguinaldo loan with Gap Equity Loans?

    You must provide basic personal and financial information to apply for an Aguinaldo loan with Gap Equity Loans. Our loan specialists will guide you through the required documents and help you with the application process.

    Can I apply for an Aguinaldo loan with Gap Equity Loans if I have bad credit?

    At Gap Equity Loans, we understand that everyone’s financial situation is different. While having good credit can make it easier to qualify for a loan, we also offer loan options for individuals with less-than-perfect credit. Contact us to discuss your options.




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