The minimum wage in El Salvador in 2020. How does it compare?

 February 26, 2020   By Eddie.

The minimum wage in El Salvador is as follows; commerce and services sector is $304.17 per month, textile manufacturing is $299.30 per month, sugar and coffee field worker is $227.22 per month, and agriculture which includes coffee ad Cottom seasonal workers is $202.82 per month.

El Salvador’s minimum wage or legal minimum wage for formal businesses is divided into the four sectors listed above. However, El Salvador’s minimum wage might be even lower in the informal sector.

Minimum wage in el salvador

The country has a large number of businesses that operate informally; therefore, keeping accurate records of information such as how much they pay their employees or how many days or hours they work is challenging to do.

Minimum wage in El Salvador in 2020 by individual sectors.

Commerce and services$304.17$3,650.04
Textile manufacturing$299.30$3,591.60
Sugar and coffee field worker$227.22$2,726.64
Agriculture & seasonal workers$202.822,433.84

El Salvador’s minimum wage in the Commerce and services sector.

The commerce and services sector is one of the largest in El Salvador; it employs a large number of the Salvadoran population. This sector includes workers in call centers, hotels, secretarial work, and many others. A few of these jobs have extra benefits, such as bonuses.

Textile manufacturing.

The manufacturing of textiles is another of the top industries in El Salvador. This area includes the production of items such as shirts, pants, shoes, and many others. A large number of what this sector produces is exported to the United States and Canada.


Sugar and coffee field worker.

The sugar and coffee sector in El Salvador is so large that it has its own minimum wage. El Salvador produces some of the best coffee beans in Central America which are exported to different countries.

The sugar sector is right next to it when it comes to production. In this category are all the workers that work in this industry are full-time employees.

Agriculture and seasonal workers.

Agriculture and seasonal workers are a sector that employs a large percentage of the Salvadoran population. An issue with the agriculture sector is that most of them work as an unofficial business. Therefore, it is hard to conclude how much their workers actually get pay.

Minimum wage in El Salvador

How many days per week do you work in El Salvador?

The standard workweek for most Salvadorans is 5 1/2 days. It usually begins on Monday and ends on Saturday at noon. It’s a normal thing for employees to work six days per week.

How many hours per day do you work per week?

Even though the country has a minimum hourly rate, most employers don’t follow this rule, especially in the informal sector.

In the informal sector, you start your day at around 7am and finish between 4pm to 5pm; most employers don’t pay overtime.

In the formal area, you work about eight to nine hours per day and sometimes get paid overtime, if it goes over the established minimum.

The minimum wage in El Salvador compared to other countries in Central America.

The following is the minimum wage in all the Central American countries, keep in mind that some of these numbers might not be accurate to the penny for the following reasons.


To begin with, there is the exchange rate. To make an accurate calculation, I took the minimum wage paid on each countries currencies and exchanged to US dollars. I am using today’s exchange rate to set an amount; but, exchange rates fluctuate daily.

Furthermore, most countries have different minimum wages for different sectors, just like El Salvador. For the purposes of comparison, I am using the highest minimum wage a person could get paid in each nation.

CountryLocal Currency$ Per month$ Per year
GuatemalaQuetzal, 2,825.10$368.95$4,427.40
El SalvadorUS $304.17$304.17$3,650.04
HondurasLempira, 8450.00$340.42$4,085.00
NicaraguaCórdoba, 7,133.44$211.48$2,537.76
Costa RicaCR Pesos, 320,618.92$558.50$6,702.00
PanamaUS $345.00$345.00$4,140.00

If any of these numbers are not accurate, please let me know at, [email protected] and I will make the proper corrections.

By all means, these figures are estimates and not 100% accurate. Most of these countries in Central America have more than one minimum wage; this salary can be different by region and type of work performed.

How often is the minimum wage in El Salvador reviewed?

According to the country’s Labor Code, El Salvador’s minimum wage is to be evaluated every three years; this is done to verify the possibility of whether it is feasible to make any increase.

The analysis looks at the overall economic aspect of the country, the economy, inflation, cost of essential items, and business environment.

In any case, the analysis is done in a group that includes 2 representatives from the labor sector, 2 from the employer sector, and 3 from the government. After the review, they decide if an increase is necessary and recommend it to congress.


When is El Salvador’s minimum wage set to be reviewed again?

The minimum wage was reviewed by the group towards the end of 2019; however, no agreement was reached.

The sectors involved may meet in 2020 to discuss the situation and discuss the new increase.

But, as of today, there is no stipulated date on when this meeting might take place or how much the new increase to the minimum wage will be.

One thing is for sure, if approved, the increase would not take effect until the beginning of 2021.

El Salvador’s minimum wage in 2020 update.

Most likely, El Salvador’s minimum wage in 2020 will remain the same; the main reasons are because of the coronavirus in El Salvador problem, and also taking into consideration that a general election is set to take place in February 2021.

It is unlikely that either president Nayib Bukele, or the Legislative Assembly are willing to take the issue of the minimum wage and try to increase it in 2020. The country’s economy has been shut down since early March, and most politicians are thinking ahead to the next elections.

El Salvador's minimum wage in 2020

El Salvador’s minimum wage in 2020 is not enough for Salvadorans.

A big reason why El Salvador has a poverty problem and that a lot of its citizens look for opportunities elsewhere is the minimum wage issue.

The minimum wage in El Salvador in 2020 is way to low, it does not allow employees to live a regular life or to increase the standards of living of their families. Besides, it does not come close too cover the cost of living in El Salvador.

The hope is that in 2021, the politicians and the government take a look at the minimum wage in El Salvador and do something about increasing it.