Costa Rica 1949 Constitution (reviewed 2020)

Table of Contents

Title V. Social Rights and Guarantees

Sole Chapter

Article 50

The State will procure the greatest well-being to all the inhabitants of the country, organizing and stimulating production and the most adequate distribution [reparto] of the wealth.

All persons have the right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment. For that, they are legitimated to denounce the acts that infringe this right and to claim reparation for the damage caused.

The State will guarantee, will defend and will preserve this right. The Law will determine the responsibilities and corresponding sanctions.

Every person has the human, basic and non-renounceable right of access to potable water, as an essential material for life. Water is an asset of the nation, essential to protect such human right. Its use, protection, sustainability, conservation and exploitation will be governed by that which the law created for these effects establishes[,] and the supply of potable water for consumption by persons and the populations will have priority.

Article 51

The family, as [a] natural element and foundation of society, has the right to the special protection of the State. The mother, the child [masculine] and the child [feminine], senior adult persons and persons with disabilities[,] will equally have right to that protection.

Article 52

Marriage is the essential basis of the family and rests on the equality of rights of the spouses.

Article 53

The parents have the same obligations to their children born out of the marriage as to those born in it.

All persons have the right to know who their parents are, in accordance with the law.

Article 54

All personal qualification on the nature of the filiation is prohibited.

Article 55

The special protection of the mother and of the minor will be the responsibility of an autonomous institution denominated [the] Patronato Nacional de la Infancia [National Patronage of Infancy], with the collaboration of the other institutions of the State.

Article 56

Work is a right of the individual and an obligation with society. The State must procure that everyone has an honest and useful occupation, duly remunerated, and because of this to impede the establishment of conditions that in some form diminish the freedom or the dignity of man or degrade his work to the condition of simple merchandise. The State guarantees the right to free election of [a] job.

Article 57

All workers have the right to a minimum salary, fixed periodically, for a normal working day, that procures them [a] well-being and [a] dignified existence. The salary will always be equal for equal work in identical conditions of efficiency.

All [matters] relative to the fixing of the minimum salaries will be the responsibility of the technical organ that the law determines.

Article 58

The ordinary daytime working day may not exceed eight hours a day and forty-eight a week. The ordinary nighttime working day may not exceed six hours a day and thirty-six a week. The work during extraordinary hours must be remunerated with fifty percent more than the stipulated incomes or salaries. Nevertheless, these provisions will not be applied in very qualified cases of exception, that the law determines.

Article 59

All workers will have the right to one day of rest after six consecutive days of work, and to annual paid vacations, of which the extent and opportunity will be regulated by the law, but in no case will include less than two weeks for every fifty weeks of continuous service; all without prejudice to the very qualified exceptions that the legislator establishes.

Article 60

Both the employers and the workers may freely syndicate themselves, with the exclusive purpose of obtaining and preserving economic, social or professional benefits.

It is prohibited to foreigners to exercise directive [roles] or authority in the trade unions.

Article 61

The right of employers to lock-out and of workers to strike is recognized, except in the public services, in accordance with the determination made of them by the law and in accordance with the regulations that it establishes, which must overrule any act of coercion or of violence.

Article 62

The collective conventions of work that, in accordance with the law, are agreed to between employers or trade-unions of employers and trade-unions of workers legally organized[,] will have force of law.

Article 63

The workers terminated without just cause will have the right to an indemnification when they are not covered by an unemployment insurance.

Article 64

The State will promote the creation of cooperatives, as a mean to facilitate better conditions of life for the workers. In the same way, it will procure the development of solidarity as an instrument of economic and social growth of the workers, both in the private sector and in the public sector.

In the same way, it will recognize the right of employers and workers to organize themselves freely in associations of solidarity, in order to obtain better conditions of life and economic and social development.

Article 65

The State will promote the construction of popular housing and will create the family patrimony of the worker.

Article 66

All employers must adopt in their enterprises the necessary measures for the hygiene and safety [seguridad] of work.

Article 67

The State will see to the technical and cultural preparation of the workers.

Article 68

No discrimination may be made with respect to salary, advantages or conditions of work between Costa Ricans and foreigners, or with respect to some group of workers.

In equal conditions the Costa Rican worker must be preferred.

Article 69

The contracts of rural share-farming will be regulated in order to assure the rational exploitation of the land and the equitable distribution of its products between owners and share-farmers [aparceros].

Article 70

A jurisdiction of work dependent of the Judicial Power[,] will be established.

Article 71

The laws will give special protection to the women and the minors in their work.

Article 72

The State will maintain, while [an] unemployment insurance does not exist, technical and permanent system of protection for the involuntarily unemployed, and will procure the reintegration of them into work.

Article 73

Social securities for the benefit of the manual and intellectual workers are established, regulated by the system of compulsory [forzosa] contribution of the State, employers and workers, in order to protect them against the risks of sickness, disability, maternity, old age, death and other contingencies that the law determines.

The administration and the government of the social securities will be the responsibility of an autonomous institution, denominated [the] Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social [Costa Rican Bank of Social Security].

The funds and the reserves of the social securities may not be transferred or used for distinct purposes [other] than those which motivated their creation.

The insurances against occupational risks will be of exclusive account of the employers and will be governed by special provisions.

Article 74

The rights and the benefits to which this Chapter refers are irrenounceable. Their enumeration does not exclude others that are derived from the Christian principle of social justice and that the law indicates; they will be applicable equally to all the concurrent factors of the process of production, and [are] regulated in social legislation and labor [legislation], in order to procure a permanent policy of national solidarity.