Letter: Contract abuse

POSTED: 01/8/13 11:49 AM

Is the use of the 6-month contract really being abused? If yes, by whom? But most importantly, if yes, how do we, immediately, eliminate such abuse? Before we can continue we must first understand what a contract really is, which is quite simple: A contract is “An agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law.”

Is it fair to say that the outcry against the abuse of the 6-month contract is not geared so much towards the contents as is the duration, bringing with it several negative consequences, such a contract holds for primarily the employee? Is it also fair to say that every business owner expects to enjoy a sustainable income and profit from his investment?

A contract is usually drawn up by the contractor (employer) and presented to the prospective employee for their acceptance of same. Such short term contracts clearly indicate the duration, conditions and compensations of the contract period. The employee is not obliged to accept the terms of a contract or employment. Therefore there clearly exists no abuse of the 6-month contract in this phase.

So where is the abuse in using the definite short term contracts? The law is very clear on this matter. After 3 consecutive contracts, with the same employer, parties must either enter into an indefinite contract or permanently end the working relationship for a period longer than 3 months. Any employer, violating this law is in contempt. However, any employee not immediately reporting such practices to the relevant authorities is also in contempt of this law.

Is it therefore safe to say that there is no need for amendment of the short-term contracts aka the 6-month contract”? Could it be that bringing more awareness of the laws would tremendously help to eliminate the negative use, effects and or abuse of the much disputed 6-month contract? Could a mentality change by employees (fear of losing their jobs) bring about positive curbing of the alleged abuse?

But more so, would transparency of the laws, by government to prospect investors when investing and establishing a business on St. Maarten, ultimately eliminate any intended abuse of the 6-month contract and or labor laws? #sxmmovement.

Soualiga Social Movement

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