Occupational health provider Medwork and the St Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), in conjunction with health insurer SZV, provided a digital masterclass on Thursday August 13, for how to manage employee sick leave. SZV used the opportunity to share some changes in SZV procedures with the 35 business and HR professionals from various business sectors, government and government owned companies that attended.

Dr. Joanne Siebel of Medwork stated that clarity on this topic is good for both employee and employer, as rules are precise, and notices stipulated by law often short. Mrs. Parveen Boertje of SZV provided clarity on the health insurance and administration side what rules and notices are defined for those involved.

“New SZV sick leave (AO) rules are in place, make yourself familiar with them” urged Boertje.  One key change is full digitalization of the process: “SZV started a journey of automation. The employer portal is your virtual SZV Office, allowing you to ensure your SZV administration is correct from the convenience of your office or home.” Another change aligned with current social distancing practices as well: “For SZV, it is no longer needed to visit the family doctor on the 1st or 2nd day of being unfit for work, in order to have the SZV yellow card signed. Essentially making the Yellow card obsolete.” Mrs. Boertje urged companies that have not yet done so to register on the employer portal of www.szv.sx.

Dr. Siebel continued; “Companies are now directly responsible for policy and procedure regarding their employee’s sick leave due to SZV changes. Managing sick leave and absenteeism, to reduce your sick leave, requires specific knowledge and skills.” From their experiences on the matter of occupational health from all Dutch Caribbean islands, Medwork advised “Make use of all sick leave management tools and recourses to get control over absenteeism.”

The sessions attendance well exceeded expectations of the organizers, proving the relevance and importance of the topic. In a closing remark thanking the parties involved, Ricardo Perez of SHTA stated that a course like this in the difficult time of COVID19 is of great relevance for all employers of the private sector labor force.

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