Country Information

El Salvador is a small country in Central America. Its population is more than six million people. San Salvador, its largest city and capital, is located on the Ace Chaute River in the Valley of the Hammocks. Spanish is the predominant language spoken in the country. In terms of its economy, the sectors with the most significant investment have been textiles and retail establishments, though investment in energy projects has been increasing gradually.

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts should be written in Spanish and include:

  • Employee’s details
  • Birth date
  • Nationality
  • Workplace location
  • Hours of work
  • Marital status
  • Gender
  • Salary
  • Job description and explain the duration or purpose of their contract.

There must be a written copy for the employer, employee and another submitted to the General Labor Office within eight days of the start date. Fixed-term contracts must state the duration of the work and the specific task to be undertaken. They are for a defined period and if they are renewed, it may become an indefinite contract. Indefinite contracts are allowed as are fixed-term contracts, although these are for a limited time frame such as a project or to replace an employee who is temporarily not working.

Working Hours

The standard workweek is 44 hours over six days. Employees typically work eight hours a day five days a week and then four hours day on the sixth day. Work hours are reduced for employees who work at night or in dangerous conditions. Employees can work an unlimited amount of overtime but there are exceptions for younger workers. Overtime generally is paid at double the salary. Overtime pay is waived in the event of force majeure.

Sick Leave

Employees receive up to 26 weeks of paid sick leave. The first three days are paid by the employer and then social security covers the remainder. If the employee has a disability, they are covered by social security for up to one year.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees receive 12 weeks of maternity leave. At least six weeks of maternity leave must be taken after the birth. Maternity leave can be extended pre-birth if there is a pregnancy-related illness. Eligible employees can receive maternity benefits from social security. Paternity leave falls under emergency family leave and male employees receive two days of paid leave.


Bonuses are common with a Christmas bonus paid around Dec. 20. Employees with one to three years of service receive 15 days of salary, those with up to 10 years of service receive 19 days and thereafter its 21 days.

Vacation Leave

Employees receive 15 days of paid annual leave after one year of service and they are paid 130% of the standard rate for these days. Annual leave cannot be carried over.

Public Holidays

The following holidays are observed in El Salvador:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday
  • Holy Saturday
  • Labor Day
  • Feast of San Salvador
  • Independence Day
  • All Souls’ Day
  • Christmas Day
Health Insurance Benefits

The state provides healthcare through ISSS to those who are employed, while the Salvadoran Institute of Master Welfare (ISBM) looks after teachers and their families. The Solidarity Fund for Health (FOSALUD) provides medicine, vaccinations, medical and laboratory supplies to national health centers and hospitals.

Employment / Termination / Severance

Employers can terminate an employment contract by providing written notice to the employee, which includes the reason for termination. No notice is required if the employee is still on probation. Severance is required in some cases, depending on the reason for dismissal and the type of contract. Generally, it is 30 days of salary for each year of service.

Local Laws & Regulations

We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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