Employee Rights in Nicaragua ?

My maid did not work last week because of arthritis, and was told by her doctor to take a week off and rest.

She is now demanding that I pay her for the week, because her doctor told her to rest ?

Anyone know the laws here, and if this is true?

In the states...........no work.....no pay !!

What are your feelings on this ?

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Not work Related .

Am I being told that if someone gets sick [ non work related] that the employer is still obliged to pay for time lost ?

Re Sick Pay Question

You are shopping this question around at least two web sites right now and getting some very colorful and interesting answers.

Why don't you go to the Ministry of Labor and the INSS counter and ask them.

I gave you some advice that may stop you from getting into trouble. But you don't want to pay her one weeks maids salary, you would rather take your chances with INSS and a MITRAB hearing. Good Luck.

The answer is that if she is not on INSS, you pay. If she is, you pay the first 4 days sick at 100%, INSS kicks in on day 5 with 60% of her salary and you pay the "subsidio" (subsidy) of the other 40%.

100% correct

and I guess I could know a little having had up to 120 employees here in Esteli :-)

The Multa (Fine)

First you pay the back pay. So if she worked for you for a year, you pay your 12 months contribution AND HER PORTION. Then they add a 5% penalty on top of that.

As I said in my first response as a TIP....pay her the week and put her on INSS.

Advice will be taken!

Thank you all for the advice....I am learning every day !

Good article on domestic workers and INSS in END today...


Nicaraguan Labor Code:

Article 150: Domestic employees have right to Social Security INSS, or employers pick up the bill if they fail to inscribe employee.

"a pesar de que existe ley que obliga a los patrones a afiliarlas al Seguro Social"

(careful on the electronic translation, it will say "there is no law", but its a false translation!)


Why have employees when you can have contractors?



Contrato de obras

Yo nombre del contratista (Cedula #) se compromete a proporcionar personal para el trabajo que se realiza en el domicilio del nombre del Cliente (Cédula o PP #). Yo seré responsable por el pago del personal de acuerdo a la legislación laboral de Nicaragua y garantizar el correcto desempeño del personal.

El valor del contrato es de ??? córdobas de ?? horas seminal. La duración del contrato es de una semana y se renovará automáticamente a menos que cancelar por escrito por ambas partes.

____________________________ Nombre del Contratista

_____________ Nombre del Cliente ****************************

Please note this contract should not exceed 6 month and should be canceled in writing upon expiry.

Excellent point

In Nicaragua, and most other central american countries (even in the US and Canada to an extent) it is always better to have contractors rather than employees. In Nicaragua employees can cause major problems, specially if you are foreigner. It is also very advisable to have a legal contract drawn up spelling out everything, specially the duration, which should be limited to a very short time so that if you decide to lay someone off, they do not come after you for compensation for the rest of the contract. Jon spelled it out perfectly.

However, the labor board in Nicaragua is onto that.

Onto it as a way of getting around the law.

i.e If they have to work in your premises (cleaner), you set the their hours of work, conditions and provide them the materials they need for the job. In that case they are employees. (Walk, look and sound like a duck...)

You have to show an arms length relationship.

Even in Canada, once contracting out your job became popular and Revenue Canada (IRS) realized that the unemployment benefit contributions were shrinking along with the tax base, they soon put a stop to some people being called contractors. This is the sort of thing they asked:

1) Do you have only one client? 2) Do they provide you an office and a place to work? 3) Do they set your hours ( 9-5, 8-4) 4) Who provides you the training and the materials and equipment to do your job?

It is the same here, the Nic. labor code speaks to it..

An employment contract is different to a contract employee. And an employee cannot sign away their rights under the labor law.

You are either an employee or you have RUC number and a Municipal Matricula (or have an S.A.)

"Bend in Like Beckham" all you like, until it all goes pear shaped.

Not entirely correct Juanno

In the example I offered, the contratista accepts the responsibility to pay the deductions and benefits to the employees, they are obliged to do so, not the person contracting the job.

As for tools and training, that is an entirely different matter. They are contracted to supply labor only. If they run a business without a proper structure, it is entirely up to them.

As for the hours, The person contracting for service can certainly stipulate the during what ours he/she wants the service performed.

I am not advocating to circumvent the law. What I offered is an alternative.

But nicareal, your contratista is your employee?

The Contract starts "I, employee (empleado)...cedula #.... And refers to you as the employer (empleador)...

So this one employee (of yours) is going to hire a team of say 3 to clean your house.

You would be subject to the labor rules on her/him. - Yes? But you say not for the team he supplied?

If that contract started: Yo...contratista....(contractor), RUC number or S.A....then I agree, you have an arms length business deal not employee.

But how do get around the main guy/girl still being "in your employ".

I think in your example, someone is turning a blind eye to a potential non payment of legal obligations for the team of 3.

If you are not paying him/her nearly 150% (See Below) of what he is paying them (plus his profit for the responsibility of running a labour service!), the your blind eye becomes knowledge and responsibility. As said, you will only need help if it goes wrong!!

The loadings are 43% all tolled as follows (percentage of salary),

INSS Social Security 15%

Vacations, annual bonus, paid holidays and severance pay 28%

Total Cost 43%

(note: Annual paid vacations per year: 1 month. Paid Holidays per year: 10)

Yes, the true cost of your employee is about 1.5 times the agreed salary. (more if some have an Intertec mandated training payment at 2%)

LOL that's what happens when you write something quickly.

I'll fix it. :-)

Is she on INSS

Instituto Nicaragüense de Seguridad Social (Social Security/Health Care/Welfare)

If she is on INSS, it kicks in after 4 days sick (and you would know if she is on it because you would be paying the insurance coverage and deducting her small share from her salary)

If she is not on INSS, you may be responsible for her pay. Think of this as driving a car with no insurance or having men working with no Workers Comp. You are on the hook personally.

In simple terms, INSS pays 60% of the average of the last eight weekly pay cheques.

If she slips off the patio on a wet floor while she is cleaning and can't work for 6 months, you could be on the hook for 100% of her wage and maybe medical bills.

None payment of INSS is one area that this Gov. is clamping down on. All employees should be on it. Some big fines being levied for non payment.

If she gets pregnant and you have not got her on INSS, you may be paying her maternity pay!! Bienvenidos a Nicaragua.

You should also look into the labor law as well, sounds like you may not be familiar with that either.

TIP: Pay her for the week off, put it down to experience and then get her on INSS, quick!

Partly right Juano

You and Jon,amaze me on how much you guys know about Nicaragua :-) .

I am glad to a certain degree that labor law protect the workers Most of the times,and most of the times MITRAB will be on their side,but unfortunately MITRAB will hardly ever do crap about it.

The BEST thing to do in this case scenario is to pay her disability,then hope she returns the portion you paid her when INSS pays her their share(that's if she's with INSS) if she's not, at least try to do the descent thing and pay her disability(if sh'e a good worker,she'll be worth it).

We have gotten burnt too many times with disability pay outs,that now,we just pay our portion and employees HAVE TO wait for their INSS insurance to kick in.

There are a few shady employers in Esteli that have NO respect for the labor laws and employees,to the point of not honoring vacations and aguinaldos(phils know one :-) ). 98% of the shady ones are Cubans .

My advice is,if you have a business (specially if you are an ex-pat) do yourself a huge favor,adhere to ALL labor laws,and be as generous as possible,it will be then,that you will know who your:

A,B and C employees are :-) .

Hope this helps. Felix

There's legal and then there's fair

Maybe as you say, Cigarman, that "98% of the shady ones are Cubans" but look at what the multimillionaires, whose families OWN Nicaragua, pay their workers in the fields or factories. Like 100 cords for a 10-hour-day. Ain't saying you and yours. You know who I refer to. There is such a thing as a "living wage".

The Law is on her side

Unfortunately that is the law in nicaragua, sad but true. If you don't pay her she might file a complain with the Ministerio del Trabajo. Now, I bet she is doing this only because you are a foreigner and you have money to spare. Lots of businesses and families ignore the law because it is dificult to enforce.One sugestion is pay her the week, fire her and pay her "La Liquidacion" following the law or do it the typical nica way, fire her ass and just ignore her, even the summons from the ministerio, everyone does it including the mayor and Enacal. Unless it is a huge sum the only way to make you pay is to take you to court and that takes years and will cost them money. If you keep her get ready for lots of sick days because the doctor said, also make sure you get a note from the doctor but those have no value because they give them away like hot cake at the local health center.

What a vile answer enperadore!

Thanks for trying to keep Nicaraguan employees in the dark ages.

My God. Shame on you Sir.

But thanks for confirming that SOME Nicaraguans, especially North Americanized ones, treat their fellow countrymen worse than a Gringo would.

Northamericanized Nicas

enperadore's response could be the result of having been burned by someone before or he is a very suspicious person and feels that everybody has an angle or he could be simply an arrogant young man that looks down on people and see people only as tools to be discarded after they can't perform as before. Sure there are people that do take advantage and are great cons but in this case a little more information is needed such as how long she's been on his employ and is she a good employee. When you relate to people as an equal a couple of things can happen: 1 People are more open and honest about their ways. 2 Soon enough their true colors are shown. Then you can asses most of the time who's what. Here in the States the consensus among the Latino labor community is that the worst patron is a Latino patron.I love to prove them wrong. I believe a person's behavior or attitude is more the result of a combination of a person's upbringing and personality than a regional attitude or trait.In Nicaragua, as in other places I'm sure, life can be unfair and more often than not La Pagan Justos Por Pecadores. Live and learn we've heard but I like better Learn and Live. Adios.

You are part correct

When I arrived I had many employees and I paid them more than the market and if they got injured I would pay them the work days plus the medicines and most employees where wonderful and honest. But after a while I started learning that the mentality of most were, "lets screw this guy, his got money, drives a big truck so he can afford it." Well I had all those things because my family and I busted our ass working to save up, we did not steal it or con it from anyone like this assh**es were trying to do. I am not arragont, just got burn too many times. If an employee is wonderful I have no problem investing and paying everything including education which I have done. All you hypocrites that jumped on my response, I like to see what you are doing, are you taking the time to maybe pay for the education of a Nica in college o in school, do you even have employees beyond one maid, do you pay them INSS or give them the opportunity to study and better themselves. Also, take a moment to see how most Nicas employees are treated and how much they are paid per month, some don't even get half of the minimun salary when they work for small nica businesses. Many of you want to sound all high and mighty because you come from the States, have you not realized that the united states is the most savage business country in the world where most hourly employees with no skills get no benefits nor health care and the statement of no work, no pay is completely true. Beside the original post had mentioned arthiris, something that may not even be related to workers comp unless the maid has been doing this work for many years. So pay more attention to the post, this more than likely is an injury not related to work but a pre-existing condition that the employeer should not have to pay, in nicaragua or in the states. If this had been a work injury then I would had said you have to pay but for something that takes years to develop or is normal for older age people, should not be a burden on a employee.


I like this discussion.

Let me express first, my rejection to your first comment, no matter the causes, was out of line.

Like you said a lot of people full their mouth talking about lot of things that depict them like humanist and socialist or whatever identified them with human care ....but honestly not too much with worker rights..and i don't know about the rest.

This is no the first post about worker laws and rights, and like the last ones, worker come at last in matter of importance.

Is not casualty that our country is a attractive destinations not only for their natural and tourist attraction, but like must foreigners says: CHEAP LABOR.

i understand your point of view that sometimes is abuse for workers side....but honestly, we pay to this people what they deserve?


Saying that we work hard and we make a lot of sacrifices to give work to many people, only is a statement that look for fulfill our own ego and justifies our arrogance.

In the mean time the bosses or the capitalist, (call them anyway)...fill their pockets with money and enjoy it of the gains of his businesses...workers must of the times ; just can fill part of their necessities to still going like a exploitation tool in hands of the big fishes.

And we can hear a lot of explanations and justifications, from , that they are a alcoholic, they don't have education, till they received a good salary to survive and live like humans....

Is in human nature to look for make goals and get up in the pyramid of society, but when we star to climb that mountain..must of the times we don't care how or what we doing....

Sure... having a big truck, or living in a nice house or having a little farm for weekends is nice...but what the workers have in return? The theory that must of our gains is because our effort, is bs...with out workers, with out exploitation maybe we can do it a little better than then, or be one more of the worker class.

The notion that latinos are one of the worse patron..is not a fallacy or invent of some ppl...is the sad true...our system look like a bubble time in the feudal era, in USA if you want to know this, you only need work for some latino....they pay under the table, they don't know nothing about insurance, liability, compensation either about honestly salaries...the gringos salaries for them are prohibited....

Gringos maybe aren't different, but at least (there in USA) they pay what you deserve and by the book, and salaries that resolved your necessities and give some extra for expends in the human nature; entertainment or consumerism ..proof of that is the $800 million dollar the country receive from that ppl.

So, why not fulfill the laws in this country where the labor is cheap...you can pay a maid (monthly) with one day of salary that you made in US, in last post some ppl were arguing about if pay C$12 cordobas ($0.55 cents dollar) or a little more.

Reading this kind of post only make me know, that really.... we are far for reach a better world.

The Benefit of the Doubt

Not knowing you personally prevents me from making assertions about your person and attitude thus in my post I said MAYBE this or that has happened to him and that may be why he feels about it the why he does. Reading your latest reply tells me more and explains your position. Like I said Justos pagan por Pecadores. I commend you for being conciente with our people and hope that the acts of the bad apples don't spoil it for those that do good by you. If I offended you with my remark of you being an arrogant young man Remember I said Maybe but still I apologize. About labor abuse here in the States you are partly correct but I have had the fortune of having met my share of good Americans that always treat me fair and respectfully and some have become good friends of mine. The bad and ugly along with the good and beautiful are everywhere all we need to do is be on the lookout and keep the gems. Adios


One sugestion is pay her the week, fire her and pay her "La Liquidacion" following the law or do it the typical nica way, fire her ass and just ignore her,

Sure ...in our country one more abuse against our people...could be ignored...


I haven't read the laws but we had an employee that was off work for almost a month based on what his doctor said. Gixia, the person dealing with this stuff, said that we needed to pay him for that time.

dubereyes - Your Bio "Graphic" is pathetic.

I should have looked at it before I responded to you, maybe I wouldn't have bothered.

In the States - No Work, No Pay you say.

I'd like some second opinions on that blanket statement.

workers comp/disability

In VT, which I am most familiar with, if you are injured on the job, you receive 66% of the average of your last 12 weeks of pay. In NH, you receive 60%. So these are very similar to the Nica rule, if I am reading it correctly. All employers are supposed to pay into workers comp in virtually all states. (The last I knew, though, it's optional in Texas.) Disability pay is a whole different issue, which this situation might more appropriately be considered in the US.

Not knowing how old the maid is, I'd assume that if she has arthritis, she's getting up there. Asking her to take off a week isn't excessive, and I'll bet her pay isn't, either. If she's a good worker, what's the problem?

The comments about kicking her out, bet there will be more sick days, etc etc. sound like US employers speaking about injured workers. There are fraudulent claims out there for sure, but the majority are not, yet it's the frauds who color the minds of virtually everyone. Believe me, I know - I spent the last 20+ years helping injured workers, and what some insurance adjusters and employers would say made my blood boil......

Yes I acknowledge that the thread was somewhat diverted...

To talk about Workers Comp or possibly non work related injuries. Sickness, work related symptoms, injuries and the labor law got a bit mixed up in this thread.

I am more Canadian than I am British so I don't know much about the American rules. (In Canada I once had 250 security guards under my charge. I had to know the labor, health and safety and workers comp rules.)

I do however; have a clear conscious when it comes to the other points in your response.

The bottom line is that Nicas and Ex Pats often have an ignorance of the basic laws of this country and some seemingly wish to bend them to fit their own circumstances.