The Daily Herald reports today that, if the minimum wage in Bonaire goes up, Dutch State Secretary of Social Affairs and Employment Jetta Klijnsma is also prepared to increase the benefits. She made this promise at the end of her acquaintance visit to the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands.
Together with Commissioner Silvana Janga-Serfilia, she visited various districts and residents. She went to Young Bonaire, viewed the project attendant residence, spoke with employees from Social Affairs and met with several volunteer organisations. Klijnsma also attended the discussion of the Central Dialogue and, together with the Public Body and local social partners, signed a letter of intent. “I cannot raise the benefits without increasing the minimum wage because it wouldn’t boost employment,” the State Secretary said.
During the various meetings on her trip, she was always asked when something would be done about the benefits. Klijnsma also concluded that these were too low. “They’re right about that, but the benefits are linked to the minimum wage, and if the latter increases, then so can the benefits. If the benefits are higher than the minimum wage it will be difficult for people to start working, so it’s essential that the minimum wage increases. “The latter is one of the discussion points of the Central Dialogue. I’m very happy about that.” On the other hand, she understands that the minimum wage cannot increase immediately in Bonaire because too many small entrepreneurs find it very difficult to manage this, as opposed to Saba where the minimum wage was raised considerably so the benefits could also be increased. “It’s good that employers and employees discuss this in order to obtain clarity on this point for the future,” Klijnsma said.