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Lee: businesses to prepare for intensified inspections

09 MARCH 2017

PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA Emil Lee announced at Wednesday’s weekly Council of Ministers press briefing that the Inspectorate of VSA will begin with an intensified schedule for inspections.

“Recognising that improving compliance also includes making sure that Government is clear about the information and regulations to which we are expecting compliance, much of the information is readily available on www.ministryvsa.sx,” said Lee.

Within the Council of Ministers discussions were held on how to work towards renewed inter-ministerial cooperation with respect to controls and inspections.

“Improving compliance is critical for the community for a number of reasons, including loss of revenue for Government, exposure to Government for expenses such as medical evacuations for undocumented workers, unsafe and/or unfair working conditions, unfair business competition and, most importantly, missed opportunities for our citizens for employment,” said Minister Lee.

He urges all to become informed about their responsibilities as a business operating in St. Maarten and that they must comply with the laws of the land. From a labour and health perspective the Inspectors will be looking for the following: Copy of Chamber of Commerce (COCI) registration for relevant year; copy of Business Licence; copy of Director’s Licence, copy of Labour Registration; copies of the employment and residence permits of the employees, copies of SZV cards/SZV registration of employees or private insurance registration.

In addition, a copy of the personnel list, work schedules and overtime register of employees and Occupational Health and Safety Standards compliance will be sought. Sufficient lighting, a clean environment, sufficient toilets and urinals, prevention measures for creation or distribution and removal of harmful or irritating vapours or gases or dust are also things to which Inspectors will be paying attention.

In place should be accident-prevention measures and standard procedures to provide assistance in case of accidents, clean drinking water or non-alcoholic beverages for employees free of charge, prevention measures to avoid poisoning, infection or occupation diseases and proof that employees receive pay slips.

As a reminder to the community, unless you are a permanent resident, married to a Dutch national, or hold a Dutch passport you are obligated to obtain an employment permit to work.

Minister Lee will at random be joining the inspections by the Inspectorate at various business establishments to get a hands-on feel for what is taking place in the community and to better identify any challenges for the Inspectors and the business owners/managers.

source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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