Gardeners/Maids/Nannies: Most people who move to Nosara help the local economy by hiring maids, gardeners and nannies. These services are much more affordable than they would be in North America or in Europe. It is highly recommended that you hire any and all employees legally. That is, that you pay ‘Caja’ (social security). This does mean a trip to Nicoya to register the employee and that you will have to pay approximately 22% on top of the employee’s salary (while the employee pays an additional 9%). Every maid/gardener/nanny would know this process and could accompany you to Nicoya. It’s not a difficult process. If you do not pay and are reported… you’ll have to reimburse the amount owed plus a fine. It’s much easier to be organized and do it right. There are also services available for those who wish that can hire your employee(s), take care of Caja, bill pay, etc for you for a small monthly fee (usually for about $150/month).
Most maids/gardeners make 1500 Colones/hour if it is full time. Part time employees make more on an hourly rate. The average full time week is 44 hours (which includes a half day on Saturday).
Many people find that they have great relationships with people who work around their house and it’s a great way to practice your Spanish. While the climate attracts many people to Costa Rica, it is the people and culture that set it apart. The people of Costa Rica are what drew me here. They have wonderful sense of humor, are kind and hard working. Just don’t expect them to show up on time to a social event! Keep in mind that some readily available people aren’t often the best at what they do. Think of it this way, if you need a good plumber or mechanic, the good ones are always busy. The same rule of thumb applies here. It’s never a bad idea to ask for references from previous employers.
I found this website very helpful regarding this topic: http://www.therealcostarica.com/costa_rica_business/costa_rica_labor_law.html