August 22nd, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) According to the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), 44% of Costa Ricans worked in the informal economy in the fourth quarter of 2013, the latest data available.
The number is concerning, some warn, and has been growing since early 2012.
INEC considers informal work to include jobs where an employer does not pay social security (CCSS) on behalf of the employee, as well as those who work independently without contributing to CCSS – from fruit sellers to gardeners.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) describes the worldwide informal economy as concerning.
“Although it is hard to generalize concerning the quality of informal employment, it most often means poor employment conditions and is associated with increasing poverty. Some of the characteristic features of informal employment are lack of protection in the event of non-payment of wages, compulsory overtime or extra shifts, lay-offs without notice or compensation, unsafe working conditions and the absence of social benefits such as pensions, sick pay and health insurance. Women, migrants and other vulnerable groups of workers who are excluded from other opportunities have little choice but to take informal low-quality jobs,” ILO says.