Workers entitled to English version of their contracts | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–Employers in St. Maarten will be required to give workers their employment agreements in the English language, once the changes to the civil code and other country regulations go into effect.

This condition is part of the changes to the civil code and other country regulations that Members of Parliament (MPs) approved during a public session of Parliament on Monday. The amendments relate to the replacement of the seventh Title A of Book 7A with a new Title 10 of Book 7 regulating the requirements for employment.

Added to Article 610 of the national ordinance is the condition that an employee is entitled to an English version of his or her labour contract. The article in the ordinance further states that the cost of translation of any contract for workers, should be borne by the employer.

Other noteworthy changes to the civil code include the extension of maternity leave to 16 weeks (from the current 12) and the introduction of paternity leave of seven days, the introduction of a shorter duration for the period within which an employee can become permanent (from 36 months to 24 months); the granting of two contracts as opposed to the current three, before a worker can become permanent; a requirement for employers to pay severance to workers in cases where an employee decides to dissolve his or her employee agreement due to substantial changes in the organisation in which he or she works; expanding the areas for which paid leave can be granted to workers (childbirth, death in the family, the funeral of a member of the household or relative, and other days mentioned in the labour regulation) and for employers to do everything in their power as far as is available for the reintegration of disabled workers into the work force.

Other changes include employers being given the option of providing payslips to their employees electronically, in addition to having the option of providing a hardcopy.

The changes to the civil code (to address the abuse of short-term labour contracts) were first proposed by the National Alliance (NA) faction in Parliament in 2011. The Department of Labour revised NA’s proposal in consultation with the party and under the guidance of former Labour Minister, now Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever. Substantial work on the changes was also done under former Minister of Health, Labour and Social Affairs VSA, Emil Lee, against whom a vote of no-confidence was recently passed.

Source: The Daily Herald