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Did you know that you’ll all be better off when you pay your household employees every week instead of by the month?
Most of the time, I find new topics for my blogs while being with clients shopping for a home in Santa Ana. This time, my clients and I are killing some time while waiting for another realtor who was running late. My client asks “when do I pay my maid and my gardener, once a month?
This reminded me of when I was a 15-year old I was looking for a Saturday job. I started working on Saturdays when I was 12, so I’d have some pocket money. So I was hired for the most interesting job I’ve held in my life: filling shelves in a supermarket.
I wasn’t smart enough then to ask when I would get paid before taking the job. So at the end of the day, I went to the manager to get paid. The manager looked at me like I was from a different planet and said: “at the end of the month”. I didn’t even go back the following Saturday! I donated my time to a large supermarket chain but I didn’t care. Then I found myself a Saturday job that was just as interesting: washing dishes at a retirement home. But it had two advantages, they served a great lunch, a fantastic dessert, and they paid every Saturday.
In Costa Rica, most full-time household employees in Costa Rica are paid by the week. I’m talking about the maid or housekeeper, and the gardener. It’s the same for factory workers and other jobs that don’t require a high-level education.
Low-wage jobs are paid by the week because they cannot manage their financial life for more than a week at a time. And, though a lot of them are great employees without vices, better feel safe than sorry: do NOT pay them by the month but by the week.
Here are 6 Reasons for NOT paying your household employees in Costa Rica by the month:
1. They’re Poor
Household employees often receive less than minimum wage. Many employers don’t even report their salary and don’t pay Caja (social security). Therefore, most live by the day and never have a chance to save money. They don’t earn enough to survive without getting paid for a whole month.
2. They Buy on Credit
Household employees seldom have a bank account or a credit card. They don’t have money to buy food for the week, so they’ll buy on credit from the Polaco and in the pulpería. Once they receive their salary, it will be all spent already.
If they have the need to pay for something unusual, they will ask you for an advance.
3. Manage money
They might not be able to handle that much money at once. They’ll go crazy with the money and be broke in a couple of days. Most don’t have the education necessary to handle their finances.
They might have a drinking habit. If they do, they will not return to work until all the money was spent.
They might not have a safe place to keep a whole month of salary and they won’t have a bank account and probably don’t have a credit card either.
6. Prepaid Phone
They have a prepaid phone with just enough balance on it for a couple of days. They will run out of balance when they need to make a serious phone call.
Before you hire household employees in Costa Rica, discuss how they want to get paid and on which day.