Retirement for most people is about having more leisure time for activities. If mowing the yard, washing the car, cleaning house or doing laundry is not on the preferred activity list, then Costa Rica should be at the top of you relocation list for destinations.
A great advantage of moving here is the affordability of domestic help. City or rural, where you choose to live, will define your needs. The services of a housekeeper, nanny or gardener may be somewhat more expensive in and around the city. The cost of the same staff, including one or more laborers as needed, will trend to be lower in the country.
Regardless of the location, consider an average unskilled labor wage is currently $1-2 per hour. Someone with access to the inside of the house is generally paid at the higher end of the scale. NOTE: It is also important to consider the added cost of social security, workman’s comp, annual bonus, holiday, vacation and maternity leave, etc., which are required by law and in addition to the hourly wage. Too many retirees have found themselves in labor court or party to a lawsuit due to either ignorance, postponement or avoidance of the rules, often at the encouragement from the help you are hiring, so they don't have to pay cajs - social security, for instance. The system has a strong tendency to almost always rule on behalf of the worker, certainly in this situation. Pay what you’re supposed to pay and do it in a timely fashion.
KNOW AND PAY BY THE RULES
Upon moving, your very first purchase should be a receipt book. Don’t be embarrassed to require a receipt or signed document of acceptance of their pay, even if you are told it is unnecessary. This includes vacation, holiday and bonus pay for all domestic help, whether permanent or temporary, full or part-time. Many valued employees have taken good advantage of an employer’s ignorance or unwillingness to comply with the rules.
FINDING GOOD HELP
If living in or around the city, there are respectable agencies to provide assistance in locating help, or simply ask around. Referrals and recommendations are as valued here as anywhere. If you move to the country, you will probably need the referral system. Seek out reputable locals or other foreigners who have lived in the area for awhile. And, just because someone they refer, supposedly does great work, are they reliable and trustworthy? Ask the right questions.
HELP THEM HELP YOU
Regardless of where one lives in the world, many tasks are the same, yet some are accomplished differently. To some, dusting means Pledge, lemon oil, a damp cloth or all three. However, none of these products may be available, or the choice of your maid, that she would like to use for her daily chores. Never assume a new employee knows the proper usage of tools or how to measure the soap properly when using the washing machine. Costa Ricans are good and hard workers, eager to please, and painfully embarrassed if something goes wrong. Make no assumptions that an unskilled laborer can figure it out. A little direction, correction and patience up front will generally result in a very loyal and satisfying relationship for both. Just remember, there are good and bad, lazy and energetic people everywhere, and Costa Rica is no exception. But with the right domestic and gardening help, your move to live, work or retire in Costa Rica can be so much more pleasant.
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