On Thursday, October 12th the Chief of Police Mr. J. Rosales swore in Mr. D. Frans BSc and Mr. L. de Jong as Extraordinary Police Officer [Buitengewoon agent van politie, also known as Bavpoller] for the Caribbean Netherlands.
As result, the number of Labour Inspection inspectors who also are extraordinary police officers has doubled. The doubling of the number of Extraordinary Police Officers at the Labour Inspection is consistent with the service’s policy which is aimed at further professionalisation. This professionalisation focuses on three points:
Efforts are made within the inspection organisation to increase expert knowledge;
Professionalisation of the inspector’s actions by training enforcement skills. Taking action requires tact, mutual respect and where necessary the use of coercive instruments. Inspectors need legal knowledge for this. The Extraordinary Police Officer training is part of the process to acquire this knowledge. Apart from acquiring general legal knowledge, the inspector also learns how to prepare an official report.
In order to provide a clear picture of what the Labour Inspection does, it is important to inform the general public about how the Labour Inspection enforces.
The Labour Inspection enforces laws concerning labour and social schemes which are implemented by the SZW Unit. This concerns laws on occupational safety, working hours and rest times, work performed by foreign nationals, loss of income, minimum wage and termination of employment.
The government’s general guiding principle is: faith in citizens and companies. Companies and citizens want to act socially responsible and comply with laws and regulations. When they do not do this, the Labour Inspection takes enforcement action. The Labour Inspection has several instruments which can be used to enforce the law.
Warning: is used when it concerns a minor violation in the field of occupational safety, working hours, minimum wage and other employment conditions. The company will be given the opportunity to resolve the violation. The violation will be recorded in a warning letter and a period will be set within which the violation should be resolved.
Instruction: is issued in the field of occupational safety in those cases when there is no immediate serious danger to persons and which are not governed by concrete provisions in laws and regulations. A period will be set within which the violation should be resolved and it is specified what the employer should do to resolve the violation.
Order to halt work: is issued when the Labour Inspection assesses that resuming or continuing work will pose a serious danger to persons. Failure to comply with the issued order is considered an offence.
Revoke a work permit: this will happen in case of failure to respect the conditions of the permit or in case of misuse of the permit. The Labour Inspection may also advise the Head of the SZW Unit to temporarily refuse to grant a company a work permit because the company does not have its administration regarding work performed by foreign nationals in order. The purpose of suspending the granting of work permits is to give the company the opportunity to improve the permit application process.
Administrative fine: can be imposed if the employer does not comply with the so-called loss of income laws. The Labour Inspection will prepare a fine report, following which the SZW Unit Head will impose a fine on the employer on behalf of the Minister. This procedure is comparable to preparing an official report. The fine is processed under administrative law.
Official report: is issued in case of specific criminal offences and repeated violations. This concerns, among others, illegal employment pursuant to the Wet arbeid vreemdelingen BES [BES Labour Law Foreigners]. Grave accidents pursuant to the Arbeidsveiligheidswet BES [BES Occupational Safety Act] such as: fatal accidents, very serious offences or accidents resulting in permanent injury. An official report is also issued when an employer fails to act on a previous warning or instruction. Ignoring an order to halt work will also result in the issuance of an official report. The official report is processed by the Public Prosecution’s Office.