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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Aruba


In Aruba, the termination of employment is primarily regulated by the Civil Code of Aruba and the Ordinance on Termination of Employment Agreements. It's crucial for both employers and employees to understand these regulations.

Grounds for Dismissal

An employer in Aruba must have reasonable grounds for termination. These include:

  • Immediate dismissal for urgent reasons: This includes serious misconduct by the employee, willful refusal to perform work, or repeated neglect of duties despite warnings.
  • Restructuring or economic concerns: Downsizing or economic necessity may justify dismissals if approved by the Director of the Department of Labor and Research (DAO).
  • Inability to perform work: This includes due to illness or disability, after a period stipulated by law.
  • Mutual Agreement: The employer and employee mutually agree to end the employment relationship.

Notice Periods

Specific notice periods are required for employers terminating an employment contract in Aruba:

  • Less than 5 years of service: 1 month's notice
  • 5-10 years of service: 2 months' notice
  • 10-15 years of service: 3 months' notice
  • More than 15 years of service: 4 months' notice

These notice periods can be extended by a collective agreement but not reduced. Employees also must generally give notice but for a shorter duration (typically one month).

Severance Pay (Cessantia)

Aruban employees are entitled to severance pay if the termination is not due to their own fault. The calculation is based on years of service. Employees receive:

  • 1 week's pay for each year between 2 and 10 years of service
  • 1.25 week's pay for each year between 11 and 20 years of service
  • 2 weeks' pay for each year of service above 20 years

Approval for Termination

For most terminations, employers in Aruba must obtain prior approval from the Director of the Department of Labor and Research (DAO). Dismissal without approval can be deemed null and void.


Aruba has a comprehensive legal framework that aims to protect individuals from discrimination. The main laws addressing discrimination include the Aruba Criminal Code (Wetboek van Strafrecht; Kódigo Penal), which prohibits discrimination and acts that incite hatred and violence on various grounds.

Protected Characteristics

Aruban law explicitly prohibits discrimination based on several characteristics. These include sexual orientation and gender identity, with the Criminal Code outlawing discrimination based on "heterosexual or homosexual orientation." Other potential characteristics that are likely covered by Aruban anti-discrimination provisions, even if not explicitly stated, include race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and sex.

Redress Mechanisms

Victims of discrimination in Aruba have several avenues for redress. They can report discrimination to the police, and perpetrators may face criminal charges under the Aruban Criminal Code. Individuals can also file a civil suit seeking damages or an injunction against discriminatory practices. Additionally, there may be specialized government agencies dedicated to handling discrimination complaints, although specific information on such agencies in Aruba is limited.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Aruba have a legal obligation to prevent and address discrimination in the workplace. This includes establishing and communicating a clear policy against discrimination in all aspects of employment, providing education and training to employees on anti-discrimination laws, and fostering a workplace free of bias. Employers are also required to implement a formal process to handle complaints of discrimination promptly and fairly, which includes investigating allegations and taking necessary corrective actions.

Employers should consult with legal counsel or the relevant government agencies in Aruba to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, as labor laws and employer responsibilities can be complex.

Working conditions

In Aruba, specific regulations are enforced to maintain a fair and healthy work environment for employees. These regulations cover aspects such as work hours, rest periods, and ergonomic requirements.

Work Hours

Aruba's standard workweek adheres to a maximum of 45 hours for a 6-day workweek and 40 hours for a 5-day workweek, with a daily limit of 8 hours per day. Exceptions exist, with government authorization allowing a maximum of 60 hours weekly, inclusive of overtime.

Rest Periods

Aruban law mandates a minimum of 11 uninterrupted hours of rest between workdays, encompassing the period between midnight and 6:00 am the following day. Employees are generally entitled to one rest day per week, typically falling on Sunday.

Ergonomic Requirements

While Aruba doesn't have a specific legislation solely dedicated to ergonomics, regulations concerning occupational safety and health indirectly cover ergonomic principles. Employers have a general duty to provide a safe and healthy work environment, which can be interpreted to include ergonomic considerations like proper workstation setup to minimize musculoskeletal strain.

Health and safety

Aruba prioritizes employee well-being by enforcing health and safety regulations in the workplace. These regulations establish clear expectations for both employers and employees, fostering a safe and healthy work environment.

Employer Obligations

Aruban employers hold significant responsibility in ensuring workplace safety. Key obligations include:

  • Risk Assessment and Mitigation: Employers must conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace and implement preventative measures to minimize risks. This could involve providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or establishing safety protocols for handling hazardous materials.
  • Safe Work Environment: Employers are obligated to provide a workplace free from foreseeable dangers. This includes maintaining equipment, ensuring proper ventilation, and addressing potential electrical hazards.
  • Training and Instruction: Employers have a duty to educate and train employees on safety procedures, proper use of equipment, and emergency protocols.

Employee Rights

Employees in Aruba possess fundamental rights regarding workplace health and safety:

  • Right to a Safe Workplace: Employees have the right to work in an environment free from foreseeable hazards and with appropriate safety measures in place.
  • Refusal of Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse work they believe is unsafe, provided they have reasonable justification for their concern.
  • Reporting Unsafe Conditions: Employees have the right to report unsafe work conditions to their employer or relevant authorities without fear of retaliation.

Enforcement Agencies

The responsibility for enforcing health and safety regulations in Aruba falls under several entities:

  • Inspectorate SZW (Inspectie SZW): This government inspectorate conducts workplace inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. They have the authority to issue fines and require corrective actions.
  • Social Security Department (AZV): The AZV plays a role in workplace safety through its occupational health programs, which can include workplace risk assessments and accident prevention initiatives.
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