Working in El Salvador



Despite El Salvador having the smallest land area in all of Central America, the country has the third largest economy in the region. Its main industries include food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture and light metals. When El Salvador was still under the Spanish colony, the country’s main export was indigo, but after the inception of synthetic dyes, the country turned to coffee as its main export.

Job Market

As of 2012, El Salvador’s labor force was estimated at 2.593 million – 58% of which are employed in the Services sector, followed by agriculture at 21% and industry at 20%. The country has a per capita income of $7,700 and is ranked 132nd out of 262 countries when it comes to gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Foreign nationals aspiring to find employment in El Salvador may face quite a challenge because the country’s economy is still facing a number of problems, such as income inequality. However, the most common types of job for expats in El Salvador are English-teaching and volunteering in local NGOs.

Minimum Wage/Salary

In El Salvador, there is no national minimum wage. Instead, minimum wages are dependent on the economy sector an individual is working for. The sector with the lowest base salary is agriculture, while trade and services sector have the highest base salary. Below is a table stating the minimum wages for each sector in El Salvador:


Minimum Wage per Day

Minimum Wage per Month

Textiles and Clothing






Commerce and Services






Coffee Harvest Collection



Sugar Harvest Collection



Cotton Harvest Collection



Benefits of Coffee



Benefits of Cotton and Sugar



Working Conditions

The general work week in El Salvador is 44 hours a week or eight hours a day, Mondays to Saturdays. All employers are required to give employees a yearly bonus that is equivalent to one month salary. Employees are entitled to nine public holidays and two weeks of paid vacation leave every year.

Income Tax

All residents of El Salvador are subject to pay income tax on their monthly salary. Meanwhile, non-residents are subject only to pay tax on their El Salvador-source income. The income tax rate of the country is on a progressive scale, starting from 10% up to 30%, depending on the salary bracket of an employee.


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Continue reading:

Work Guide

Expat Services in El Salvador