Author: mr. Molly Steward
WILLEMSTAD – The director of the Sociale Verzekeringsbank Curaçao (the SVB), Mr. Ph. Martis has announced in the media the position that the SVB, in view of the “lockdown” measure imposed by the government and as of March 30, 2020, will no longer pay sick pay to sick employees.
Mr. Martis has also put his money where his mouth is.
In a workability certificate issued by the SVB after March 30, 2020, the letter states the following:
“In accordance with the decision measures public order COVID-19 II(P.B.2020 no.25) your function does not concern a vital function. Therefore, you are already for that reason unable to perform your regular work. The SVB will not issue a declaration of incapacity for work for such positions as of March 30, 2020, and there is no entitlement to loss of wages.”
What does Mr. Martis’ position mean?
For the employee:
During sickness, no allowance for medical treatment and nursing and no sick pay to which the sick employee is entitled.
For the employer:
No refund by the SVB of the sick pay advanced by the employer.
What actually happens here is that an insurer unilaterally withdraws from his obligations under the insurance contract (coverage of the risk of illness), while he has been receiving and continues to receive the insurance premiums (the employers’ and employees’ share) for years.
The National Health Insurance Ordinance, as the name implies, is an insurance imposed by law to cover the risk of illness among employees.
The SVB is by law charged with the implementation of this insurance.
The SVB collects contributions for this insurance from both the employer and the employee.
The position taken by Mr. Martis is therefore incorrect and contrary to the law.
What can an employee and employer do about this?
After receiving notification from the SVB that you (the employee) are not eligible for a declaration of disability and therefore cannot claim sickness benefits and medical provisions, you can lodge an objection or appeal against this decision within 6 weeks of receiving this SVB decision.
For the employer, after receiving the decision that there will be no refund of sick pay, the employer may lodge an objection or appeal against the decision within 6 weeks of receiving the SVB decision.
Would you like to know more about this? Please contact Brian Zending or Molly Steward of our office.