Member of Parliament George Pantophlet continues to give the public information on the process that led the initiative takers to deal with the abuse of the short term contract which meant an amendment to Book 7A of the Civil Code.
During the several election campaigns of the past years this point ( to deal with the abuse of the short term contract) was repeated on a consistent basis. But this matter was not addressed in the manner an issue of such importance deserves. This can be blamed on several factors, one being the frequent changes in government , changes proposed by other stakeholders and so on.
In the past in order to take this action cooperation was needed from the government and parliament of the former Netherlands Antilles to come with measures to deal with this problem. When St. Maarten became country the authority to do so became that of the Parliament of St. Maarten. The faction of the National Alliance as part of the Parliament decided that the time had come to address this issue and come up with the necessary legislation to do so, which is the abuse of the use of the short term contract. It is very much understood by the initiative takers that there are functions of a seasonal nature where it will require more workers. But when it comes to functions of a permanent nature such as a cashier at a supermarket, a store, casinos just to name a few this practice should be eliminated.
As it relates to construction this will be permitted seeing that such is of a temporary character or nature. The initiative takers are well aware that our economy is based on tourism and as such of a seasonal nature. Therefore in implementing this labor law or jurisprudence, account is taken of the fact that there will be occasions where labor contracts of a temporary nature are possible.
Discussions were held during the preparation of this national ordinance with the Minister at the time in 2012 and his advisors of the Department of Labor and Social Affairs. His task entailed sufficient manpower with the necessary authority to ensure that this law is strictly adhered to which includes the issuing of fines.
A little Historical background:
In article 1639 (old BW) Burgelijk Werkboek freely translated Civil Code it was determined that when a function of a temporary nature is continued, to end such prior notice is required. This meant that an employer-employee agreement with interims of no more than 31 days is considered continuous. To terminate such an agreement permission was needed from the Director of the department of Labor and Social Affairs, dissolution by the Judge or termination on mutual agreement. Requirement for prior termination was seen as a staunch ruling. In business circles they are of the opinion that it was difficult or almost impossible to lay off a non-functioning employee and that this did not bode well for the economy. For this reason government in order to comply with this point and in so doing made the labor laws more flexible.
This was done in the year 2000 when article 1615 f of the Civil Code was amended by establishing the national ordinance to make flexible the Labor regulation (PB) Publication Sheet 2000 no 68) which states as follows: a. Labor contracts of a temporary nature with intervals of no more than 3 months consecutively of 36 months, including the exceeding of these intervals, goes into effect or is considered permanent from the day the last labor contract was signed.
b. more than 3 contracts of a temporary nature following each other with intervals of no more than 3 months the last labor agreement is considered permanent.
One of the major rules then was that a labor agreement of a temporary nature ends automatically by the expiration of the period it was entered into. In order to give the employee security and protection for the continuation of the employment the above mentioned article 1615fa that was quoted was created. As common practice has proven this law is being abused. Reason why the initiative takers have decided to amend this law to try and eliminate its abuse.