Employment Protection Legislation in Haiti: An Overview

Employment Protection Legislation in Haiti: An Overview

Samir Amine (Université du Québec en Outaouais, Canada) and Wilner Predelus (Université du Québec en Ouatouais, Canada)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4134-9.ch010

Abstract

The merit of employment regulations in a market economy is often measured by their effectiveness in facilitating job creation without jeopardizing the notion of “decent work,” as defined by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Consequently, the recent literature on employment legislation has extensively focused on the flexibility of the labor market, as a fair middle ground is always necessary to avoid undue distortions that can negatively impact the economy and worker's wellbeing. This chapter analyzes the provisions of the labor law in Haiti and how it affects job security and flexibility to observe a flexible structure that rather benefits employers. Notably, labor law in Haiti may have in fact rendered workers more vulnerable because these labor legislations were enacted on the assumption that employers and workers are on the same footing when it comes to industrial relations, while historic facts do not support such an assumption.
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For the past decades, the Haitian economy has been in a tailspin. As domestic political unrests raged and per capita income stagnated, unemployment rates have skyrocketed and the general social welfare has significantly deteriorated. For example, the unemployment increased sharply from7.2% in 1998 to reach a historic high of 16.8% in 2007, before gradually decreasing to 13.2% in 2016, a level that is almost twice that of 1999 (see Figure 1 below: Solid line). As for the GDP per Capita, it started plummeting from 2000 to reach a trough of USD 1,502 in 2010 before it rebounded. However, as of 2016, it remained well below its 1999 level (see Figure 1 below: Dash dot line). In fact, the steep fall observed in the tourism sector at the beginning of the 1980s, followed by a drop in the agricultural production, marked a new era in the economic perspective of Haiti as economic players started to turn to the apparel sector in search of new economic opportunities. The Haiti Hemispheric Opportunity for Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act enacted in 2006 by the Congress of the United States has expanded the preferences established under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery (CBER) Act for Haitian apparel, thus fuelling the hope of a renaissance of the labor market. As of 2013, the apparel sector has expanded considerably, creating no less than 65.8% of the total employment in the formal economy in 2013 (IMF, 2015).

Figure 1.

Unemployment rates in Haiti; GDP per capita, PPP 2011 Constant US Dollars 2000-2016

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