Legislation forBill for the modernization of social security in BES islands prepared

To strive for equality and to promote social security, a modernization of the social security system in the Caribbean Netherlands is necessary. With that in mind, the government is sending a bill to the House of Representatives today. Residents, Central Dialogues and public entities have already responded to the plans.

Various changes in laws and regulations in the Caribbean Netherlands are necessary to modernize the social security system and leave regulations in the Caribbean Netherlands and to promote social security. All the changes that are now being proposed have been bundled in the ‘BES 2024 SZW Laws Amendment Act’.

One of the aims of the bill is to make it easier to combine work and care. That is why the bill provides for an expansion of the leave arrangements for employees to include emergency leave, short-term care leave and partner leave in the event of the birth of a child. The legally required number of vacation days will also be converted into hours so that they can be taken more easily for the care of children, for example. In addition, pregnant self-employed workers receive benefits during their pregnancy and maternity leave, just like in the European Netherlands, and the double child benefit for parents of children with extra care needs is structurally regulated in the bill.

The bill also expands the rules for incapacity for work, so that more attention is paid to reintegration. In this context, 3 waiting days for the sickness and accident insurance (ZV and OV) have been included and an activation obligation in the event of illness of employees. Both employers and employees are obliged to make an effort for a possible reintegration process.

Finally, the so-called ‘cost of living allowance’ for AOV beneficiaries on Saba and St. Eustatius will be phased out now that the AOV amounts have been significantly increased and will increase further as of July 1, 2024. The name of the BES General Widows’ and Orphans’ Insurance Act will be changed to BES General Surviving Dependants Act.

If the House of Representatives and then the Senate adopt the bill this year, the legislation will be phased in from January 2025. Other measures, such as an unemployment provision for the Caribbean Netherlands, will be further developed in the coming period.


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