SHTA and BZSE hold first of seminars on new labour law

Published on: Oct 04, 2022
St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) and BZSE Attorneys at Law recently held one of two seminars pertaining to the new labour law that came into force October 1. The new law, Civil Code book 7, includes some profound changes for the St. Maarten labour force.

Due to the absence of a transitional law and some amendments that are completely new for St. Maarten, BZSE and SHTA saw it as imperative to inform SHTA’s membership as soon as possible in a series of masterclasses.

“It is clear that the lack of transitional law, which is customary when a change may affect legal certainty for citizens, will provide an unpredictable first few months of enacting the law,” BZSE lawyers Suhendra Leon and Camiel Koster said. “Possibly, a repair law will follow. Until then, the omission of the transition by government is prone to lead to court cases. It can be expected that case law will guide the way pertaining to this matter soon.”
Fifteen years in the making, the new labour law includes some profound changes for the St. Maarten labour force. But is not like “an earthquake,” Koster said.
Various changes will impact the duration of definite employment contracts, he explained. “Other topics that will change pertain to gender discrimination, sickness leave, transfer of enterprise, languages used in contracts and the rights of parents.”

Although the law is partially intended to cut short the “revolving door effect” caused by employers who offer short-term contracts without the possibility of permanent employment, BZSE has not seen many court cases in this category over the past decades. “What the law does do is modernise St. Maarten law and bring St. Maarten more in line with European Union standards,” the lawyers said.

Due to overdemand amongst SHTA membership, a second edition of the masterclass will follow on Thursday, October 6. Contact the SHTA office via email at or call 542-0108 to sign up.