Consequences of Hurricane Irma for Labor Law: What to Do?
Hurricane Irma has caused major damage to companies and persons on St. Maarten, leading to many questions in the field of labor law, both on the part of employers and employees.
The whole new situation after the hurricane has also created a completely new situation for labor law. Many employees have become redundant because of the effects of the hurricane.
For employers. St. Maarten labor law stipulates that in principle employees must continue to be paid even after a catastrophic event like Irma, meaning that the usual rules apply for termination of employment contracts. The employer can only terminate a contract of employment by means of a resignation permit through Labor Affairs or by a legal intervention by the court by means of a dissolution procedure. The right choice of procedure depends on the duration of employment, the business situation, the age of the employees, among many other things. In some cases a collective dismissal can be requested whereby for example, the "last in-first out" principle may be applied. For employees that are required to stay in the future, temporary unpaid leave may offer a temporary solution or, depending on the situation, a reduction of working hours or salary may offer some relief. Of course this can only be done in (individual) consultation with the employee. Please note tha under normal (pre Irma) circumstances these measures are not allowed.
For employees. Although a key principle of St. Maarten labor law is that employees must also be paid in these circumstances, it is always advisable to consult with the employer in this exceptional situation. Job retention is always worth considering. Although employment law in St. Maarten offers good protection for employees, this situation is new to all, so vigilance is required at all times. There are no ready-made solutions available in these exceptional circumstances.
Questions? It is strongly recommended for both employers and employees to consult a lawyer before taking any action in labor law situations arising after hurricane Irma. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org of by phone +1(721) 5425088 or use appointment form below.