GREAT BAY – There are currently 3,000 employees registered at SZV that do not have legal residency, Minister Emil Lee (Public Health, social development and labor) told the central committee of parliament yesterday afternoon. The total number of employees registered at SZV is 23,000; this means that 13 percent does not have legal residency.
According to Minister Lee the group of 3,000 is paying social premiums and is therefore entitled to health insurance from SZV, but he noted that there must be more workers without legal status. “There is still another group that remains under the radar,” he said.
Minister Lee furthermore told the central committee that there are currently four employment agencies in St. Maarten and that 261 people are registered with these companies. He also noted that company directors do not require a work permit, but that they must obrtain a director’s license from the ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs.
Maternity leave will remain at 14 weeks and not be extended to 18 weeks, as the International labor Organization (Ilo) recommends. According to Minister Lee this is mainly due to financial constraints. Establishing paternity leave for a period of five days is currently however under consideration.
MP Frans Richardson said that he remains skeptical of the proposed changes to the civil code that aim to regulate labor contracts. He suggested establishing a review committee to monitor the way the legislation works once it comes into effect. Richardson also wants to see a training program for the retraining of workers.