This crisis has a drastic impact on our economy, which has hit many companies hard and therefore has very serious consequences for the employees. Despite this unprecedented crisis, labor laws are in place and must be complied with.
The most frequently asked questions during the crisis are:
1. Can my employer force me to take vacation leave??
In case an employee has enough unused vacation days, the employer can instruct the employee to use a part of the unused vacation days. The employee is advised to keep 5 vacation days unused. Please note that the employee must be paid in full, including the vacation days taken (in case of variable income, base salary plus average commission) as agreed in the employment contract. The same applies if one uses time back instead of holidays.
2. Can my employer reduce my working hours and my income?
Work conditions like the number of hours as well as income cannot be changed without the consent of the employee. During this crisis, companies can make adjustments to the employment agreement but not without first presenting their plan to their employees with the needed measures to keep everybody employed. This can include an agreement for employees to reduce their working hours and income. The employee, based on the solidarity with their co-workers to retain their jobs, should agree with the reasonable proposal offered by their employer.
3. Can my employer send me home without payment?
In the event a company has been taking measures like reducing working hours and income or has no commercial activity whatsoever for the company and is having financial complications, they can go over to layoffs based on the no work no pay system. This should not be the company’s first option but rather as the last resource if nothing else seems to help to keep the company viable. In case the employee does not receive any income or has received less than Afl. 950,- per month, the employee can apply for the financial aid provided by the Government’s Emergency Social Assistance Funds (FASE). Please contact the Fase help desk at 2800707 or apply online at www.fasehelpdesk.com.
4. Can my boss fire me due to the Coronavirus crisis?
The current crisis is no valid reason for an employee to be fired. According to the policy of the Minister of Labor announced layoff permits will not be honored any based solely on the Coronavirus crisis. To qualify for the FASE, the employee must be employed by an employer. Mutual consent between employer and employee for termination of employment can be agreed upon, but employees should consider for themselves whether it is currently more advantageous and must ensure that the termination agreement includes at least the payments according to the labor laws of Aruba.