First initiative law to be submitted Monday

POSTED: 05/22/11 4:52 PM

St. Maarten – The National Alliance faction will submit an initiative law on Monday that attempts to curtail the abuse of short term labor contracts. The basic premise of the change is that it is forbidden for companies to offer short term contracts to people being hired for any job that has a permanent nature.

The announcement by the National Alliance means that Parliament is getting ready to handle its first initiative law. Following Monday’s presentation the Council of Advice will have to be heard. Once that has happened the amendment, which is to provisions in the Civil Code, and the advice will be sent back to Parliament for handling.

          Leader of the National Alliance William Marlin said the initiative comes after several other amendments were made to accommodate businesses like construction business and hotels where short term contracts are needed.

“Instead of getting better though, things have gotten worse with some businesses making structural use of these kinds of contracts. For example you have businesses that are hiring people for six and nine months, sending them home for three months and sometimes six months and then taking them back. And so it continues contract after contract,” Marlin said.

The consequences of this unstable employment are that people have difficulty in renting a house or apartment and they are unable to get loans. The N.A. is hoping that their amendment will help provide that stability.

“This will not totally eradicate it (the abuse), but we believe it will at least be curtailed. What will really curtail the abuse is a change of approach by the businesses and the realization that giving people permanent employment will benefit businesses and the employees,” Marlin said.

The N.A faction leader also used the occasion to reject the notion that giving people permanent employment would lead to them taking massive amounts of sick leave.

“One of the first things you hear when you talk to businesses about permanent employment is that they fear that the people they employ will go straight to the SVB, but that is simply not true. Look at Windward Islands Bank. It’s full of local people and do you hear they have problems with people being sick often? No, you don’t,” Marlin said.

       The proposal was drafted entirely by the faction. There have been no consultations with MPs outside of the faction and the business community has not been consulted. The party is hoping for broad political support though, based on the fact that all political parties have campaigned on reforming the provisions on short term employment contracts.

There are no fines attached to breaking the regulation. There is also no specific listing of businesses that would have to comply with the rules. These are things Marlin believes the government would be able to regulate by decree.

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