New minimum wage and social allowances officially published

The Dutch government on Tuesday published the new, higher amounts for the minimum wage, the old age pension AOV and the child allowance that will go into effect per January 1, 2019, for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. In St. Eustatius, the legal minimum wage for persons 21 and up will increase from the current US $6.09 to US $6.46 per hour per Janu­ary, 1, 2019, which is 6.1 per cent more. In Saba, the legal minimum wage will go up from US $5.58 to US $6.21 per hour, an increase of 9.4 per cent.

Elderly in St. Eustatius and Saba will receive a higher AOV pension per January 1, 2019, respectively US $805 and US $774 per month. This is an increase of 6.1 per cent in St. Eustatius and 9.4 per cent in Saba. Currently the AOV in St. Eustatius is US $759 and in Saba US $707.

Families with children will be happy with the 52.4 per cent raise of the child allow­ance. Per January 1, 2019, the child allowance in both St. Eustatius and Saba will go up from US $42 per child per month to US $64 per child per month.

The social allowances in the Caribbean Netherlands, such as the allowance for wid­ows, widowers and orphans and the “onderstand” will increase with 5 per cent, in addition to the inflation cor­rection. The “onderstand” for persons living alone will go up considerably, accord­ing to the Ministry of SZW. And more people will be able to make use of the special “onderstand” allowance with the increase of the income limit to 120 per cent of the minimum wage.

Per January 1, 2019, the em­ployers’ premiums will struc­turally go down by 5 per cent, from 18.4 per cent to 13.4 per cent. By lowering the cost for employers, the private sector can increase the wages with­out having the wage cost go up. In most cases, the employ­ers have a margin between 3.4 and 4.4 per cent. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour SZW stated that it is the idea that the employers apply this margin to the wages of their employees.

“Many residents of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are having trouble to make ends meet. The cost of rent, food and other daily needs are high for many people in compari­son to their income. That is why the Dutch government is taking a number of measures that will increase the spend­ing power of the people,” said State Secretary of Social Affairs and Labour in a news release on Tuesday, the day of the publication of the new fig­ures in the National Gazette (“Staatscourant).

The state secretary will in­form the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament about the effect of the measures to raise people’s incomes in the Caribbean Netherlands be­fore the summer of 2019. In 2020, the Dutch goverment will assess the effect of the measures and decide whether to take additional measures. The First and Second Cham­ber have been clamouring for measures that will help to combat the poverty that exists on the islands.

The Daily Herald.

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