National Alliance submits updated Civil Code amendment

POSTED: 04/3/12 1:03 PM

St. Maarten – The National Alliance faction and Independent Member of Parliament Frans Richardson has submitted its amendment to the Civil Code dealing with short term labor contracts and hopes that President of Parliament drs Gracita Arrindell will place it on the agenda of a Central Committee meeting just after the Easter Holidays. The documents submitted on Monday contain updates here and there based on the concerns and remarks made by the Council of Advice.

“This is no major change to the Civil Code. We’re looking to protect the workers. We are trying to end abuse. We don’t know how many are affected, because we did not do any sort of survey. We have adjusted the draft here and there but there are no fundamental changes,” National Alliance faction leader William Marlin said.

The main thrust of the amendment is that the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor will have to publish a list of business types that must approach the minister for permission to have short term labor contracts. The initiators are doing things that way because they do not believe short term labor contracts can be totally abolished. They also have not gotten specific with what categories of work should fall under the law.

“The minister will need to negotiate with the businesses. If you tie things down in law the minister will have no room to deviate. This gives the minister the chance to address issues as they pop up. There are times when an organization can still use a short term labor contract, so you can’t engrave it in stone,” Marlin said.

The initiators believe approving this law will give government a tool to protect workers from abuse by employers who routinely replace them only to call them back after a period of time. Some instances where they think it can be used is on supermarkets, stores on Front Street and banks that have begun using “on call” contracts, where people only get paid for days on which they work. Holidays and weekends are not counted in this type of compensation package.

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