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Well-educated, multilingual and multicultural workforce
With the opening of the Shell Oil Refinery in 1918, immigrants poured in from all over the world, creating a uniquely multicultural society. The average level of education is relatively high. The majority of the population is able to communicate in four languages: English, Dutch, Spanish and the local language Papiamentu.
Workforce and employment
In 2009, the labor force comprised 62,627 persons. After a sharp decline in 2006 (with 3.5%), unemployment has since kept going down, reaching 9.7% in 2009, compared to 18.2% in 2005.
There is a mandatory maximum of 40 working hours a week for non-schedule workers, and 45 for schedule workers. The hotel and catering industry has a 48-hour labor week.
Average annual income is USD 20,046 per year, which reflects a relatively high standard of living.
Statutory minimum wages per hour for employees of 21 or older: USD 4,12.
(As of January 1, 2006.)
Overtime premiums are 150% of regular pay, or 200% on Sundays and holidays.
Curacao has four compulsory social insurance programs:
Employers are required to insure employees earning up to USD 2.692 per month against sickness through the Social Security Bank. The premium is 12.5% of the employee’s salary, of which the employer pays 8.3%, the employee 2.1% and government 2.1%.
Employees are entitled to at least 15 days of paid vacation per year. This does not include the public holidays, which are also granted with pay.
Termination of employment
The Dismissal Law protects employees against unreasonable and arbitrary dismissal. In most cases, the employer needs the approval of the Directorate of Labor Affairs to terminate a labor contract.
Employment of foreigners
Foreigners who wish to be employed or to exercise a trade or profession must obtain a work permit as well as a residence permit.