‘Law on short-term contracts is ill-founded’

WILLEMSTAD - The private member’s bill to amend the regulation on employment contracts concluded for a certain period (National Regulation Short-Term Contracts) is ill-founded.

The Advisory Council (RvA) concludes this in their advice on a private member’s bill from MAN, PS and FOL. The advisory organ also wonders whether the initiators couldn’t accomplish their wish with additional control.The purpose of the enactment is to suppress abuses on the labor market with regard to short-term contracts. In practice, people are given a short-term contract year after year without the possibility of a permanent appointment. The initiators believe that the flexibility of the employment legislation in 2002, ‘doesn’t offer employees and especially those with a short-term contract, sufficient protection.

Subsequently, the initiators wish to suppress these abuses by amending the law so that employers cannot offer employees short-term contracts during a period of 36 consecutive months. This period is limited to 12 months in the new law. Furthermore, an employment contract for a certain period can only be concluded in writing. If this is not done, the contract will changed to a contract for an indefinite period of time. The private member’s bill will also mentions the judge will grant the employee compensation if an employer does not comply with the stipulations. Furthermore, the Directorate of Employment Affairs must give its opinion on the termination of a contract. If an opinion remains forthcoming and it appears that the employer complies with all conditions, the government will then pay the employee 150 guilders.

The RvA queries the proposal from the parties MAN, PS and FOL, which proposal actually departs from an amendment of the Civil Code. The advisory organ concludes that the underpinning of the proposals, while initiators hadn’t considered the current relevant needs in the society. The social partners should also be involved with this proposal. The RvA further queries the initiators’ objective. The latter could be accomplished with proper control on observance of the current employment legislation. This is also important for the new legislation, which the initiators wish to introduce, according to the advisory organ.

The RvA further believes that several suggested stipulations in the private member’s bill could impede the employment flexibility required for the economy. It regards a limited list of cases whereby employment contracts could be concluded for a certain period and reducing the 36 months to 12 so consecutive employment contracts could be concluded for a certain period.

St. Maarten
The discussion on short-term contracts is also held on St. Maarten. The opposition parties from the National Alliance and independent parliamentarian Frans Richardson have submitted a proposal to amend the Civil Code that is to terminate the abuse of short-term contracts on the Windward Island. The proposal has meanwhile been sent to the Parliament of St. Maarten. The main point in the proposal is that if an employer wishes to conclude a contract with an employee for a certain period, the employer must have permission in writing from the minister in question. There will also be a list of jobs, which will be examined under supervision of the government.


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