Bolivia's President Evo Morales (Reuters)

Hundreds of thousands of Bolivian public sector workers will see their Christmas bonuses double after a decree by President Evo Morales.

Morales pronounced that 300,000 salaried state employees in the South American country will be awarded an extra month's pay.

The nation's law already requires that workers get a month's pay over the festive period, but Morales argued "the country's growth should return to the workers".

Bolivia's Federation of Private Companies blasted Morales by dismissing the move as a piece of "politicking".

The president has mandated annual wage increases to keep pace with the country's inflation - currently at 6.4% per year.

The number of state employees have doubled since Morales took office.

However, their median salary is only around $500 (£308, €369) a month.

The bonus will be paid every year as long as Bolivia's gross domestic product grows by at least 4.5% annually, the decree states.

The Bolivian government said gross domestic product is expected to grow by 6.7% this year on the back of record exports.

Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America and underwent a disastrous economic crisis during the early 1980s.

Morales has focused his efforts on reducing poverty levels in the country and boosting living standards by increasing state intervention and nationalising utilities.

But Amnesty International have argued a lack of consultation and agreement on political reforms has increased political tensions in the embattled country.

In addition, the UN's 2010 Universal Periodic Review, an investigation of the human rights records of all UN member states, raised concerns around the independence of Bolivia's judiciary, impunity and access to justice, the rights of women, and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.