Amendment for regulating overtime pay to officers made a point of action by Minister of Justice Anna Richardson
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Amendment for regulating overtime pay to officers made a point of action by Minister of Justice Anna Richardson

Minister of Justice Anna Richardson Minister of Justice Anna Richardson

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Thursday, April 29, 2021, the Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson held a meeting with the Chief of Police Force, Mr. Carl John, and Attorney at Law, Ms. Peggy-Ann Brandon, to discuss the topic of regulating overtime compensation for both the Police and Immigration Officers.

The objective of the meeting was to identify the obstacles being faced with the current protocol and to explore the steps needed to be taken to ensure that the officers of the KPSM and the Immigration and Border Protection Services (IBPS) are fairly compensated for overtime hours.

The meeting held last week was requested by Minister Richardson as a follow-up to the phase one approach aimed at tackling the matter of overtime compensation.

Upon taking office, Minister Richardson immediately focused on taking steps and measures to regulate all aspects of concern within the Ministry of Justice. Amongst the Minister’s top priorities was the establishment of the legal body to complete the Function Book (FB) for the Ministry of Justice and reviewing the overtime which has been a major concern for years.

The overtime regulation used to compensate Police and Immigration officers differs from the other personnel within Government. This is due to the fact that for these officers the overtime regulation is set in Article 39 of the “rechtspositieregeling” while the other departments within the Ministry are compensated based on Article 26 of the National Ordinance Substantive Civil Servants law (LMA).

The actual circumstances however required the regulation in effect to be revisited and updated. As such, Minister Richardson ensured that the necessary steps were undertaken to implement not only the required control- & management procedures for overtime but to enact an updated regulation addressing the manner in which the overtime is calculated and paid. This can be considered the implementation of Phase One.

Now that the Function Book is continuing on the legislative course to completion, Minister Richardson is redirecting her attention to the overtime matter and focusing on the roll out of Phase Two which is having a new overtime regulation drafted in order to ensure officers are fairly compensated.

Minister Richardson initiated the process of the review and rectification of the overtime matter earlier on, through communications to department heads within the Ministry. The Minister hopes to bring this process to a close very soon, with a clear and fair regulation.

“It is important that this matter is rectified according to the law, therefore, all steps necessary in making the right amendments are being taken to ensure that the structure to be adopted is fair one regulated. We must acknowledge the hard work and selfless service by our agencies and must reward this service appropriately and with priority”, Minister Richardson stated.

The input provided by the Unions, as may be distilled from the notes from the discussions on the matter, as well as the internal advises received will be used for the formulation of a National Decree containing general measures (LBHAM). This National Decree will address the definition of the wage basis, the method of overtime calculation and will contain the pertinent internal process to approve and record overtime hours.

Further discussions and reviews are expected to be held in the coming days with draft proposals already being prepared. Moving forward, consultations will also involve the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Judicial Affairs, and Department of Personnel & Organization (P&O).

When so far, final reviews of the draft law will then include both the Committee of Civil Servant Unions (CCSU) and the Council of Advice before moving on to the approval and implementation phase of the overtime regulation.

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