Law proposal for social security reform in Caribbean Netherlands

In the pur­suit of equality and the pro­motion of social and eco­nomic security, the Dutch government deems it nec­essary to modernise the social security system in the Caribbean  Netherlands. That is why the cabinet sent a law proposal to the Second Chamber of Dutch Parliament on Friday, April 26 for approval. Residents, Central Dialogues and the public entities have already reacted to the plans, it was stated in a press release.

Various changes in laws and regulations in the Ca­ribbean Netherlands are necessary to modernise the social security system and leave regulation in the Ca­ribbean Netherlands. All amendments that are now being proposed have been bundled in the Amendment Act SZW Acts BES.

The law proposal mostly aims for a better combina­tion of work and care. That is why the law proposal provides for an expansion of the leave schemes for employees with, among other things, emergency leave, short-term care leave, and partner leave in case of childbirth. Also, the legally required number of holidays is converted into hours in order that they can be taken more easily for, for instance, the care for children. In addition, preg­nant self-employed women will receive a benefit during their pregnancy and mater­nity leave, just as they do in the European Netherlands. And the double child ben­efit for parents of children with additional care needs, is structurally regulated in the law proposal.

The law proposal also expands the rules for be­ing unfit for work allowing for more attention to rein­tegration. In this respect, three waiting days were included in the sickness and accident insurance and an activation obligation in case of sickness of employ­ees. Both employers and employees are obliged to work on a possible reinte­gration process.

Finally, the so-called `cost-of-living allowance’ for senior pension AOV beneficiaries on Saba and St. Eustatius is phased out now that the AOV amounts have been substantially in­creased and will increase further from July 1, 2024. The name of the General Widowers’, Widows’ and Orphans’ Insurance BES Act is changed into Gen­eral Surviving Dependants Act.

If the Second Chamber and then the Senate adopt this law proposal this year then the legislation will be implemented in phases from January 2025. Other measures, such as an un­employment provision for the Caribbean Nether­lands, will be given further substance in the coming period, the press release concluded.

The Daily Herald.

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