SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Last Thursday, the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) and BZSE Attorneys at Law held one out of two seminars pertaining to the new Labor Law that was published in 2021 which, came into force October 1.
Due to the absence of a transitional law and some amendments that are completely new for Sint Maarten, BZSE and SHTA saw it as imperative to inform SHTA’s membership soonest during a series of masterclasses.
Fifteen years in the making, the new labor law (Civil code book 7) include some profound changes for the St. Maarten labor force, though not “an earthquake” in the words of BZSE’s Camiel Koster.
Various changes will impact the duration of definite employment contracts. Other topics that will change pertain to gender discrimination, sickness leave, transfer of enterprise, languages used in contracts and the rights of parents.
Though the law is partially intended to cut short the “revolving door” effect by employers, BZSE has not seen many court cases in this category over the past decades. What the law does do is modernize Sint Maarten law and bring Sint Maarten more in line with European Union standards.
It is clear that the lack of transitional law, that is customary when a change may affect legal certainty for citizens, will provide an unpredictable first few months of enacting the law. BZSE lawyers Suhendra Leon and Camiel Koster: “Possibly, a repair law will follow. Until then, the omission of the transition by government is prone to lead to court cases. It can be expected that case law will guide the way pertaining to this matter soon.”