In order to improve subsistence and to reduce poverty, the legal minimum wage and the benefits (AOV and social relief) in the Caribbean Netherlands are indexed annually on the basis of consumer price index figures (of the third quarter of the year preceding the year in which the increase will be implemented). In some quarters of 2015, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba had to deal with deflation. Nevertheless, the legal minimum wage and benefits were raised extra in 2016; on Bonaire by 0.9 percent, on St Eustatius by 4.0 percent and on Saba by 6.5 percent. As a result, in net terms, the amounts for the legal minimum wage and benefits remained unchanged on Bonaire, whereas on St Eustatius and Saba they showed a net increase of 3.5 percent and 6.1 percent respectively.
Supplementary AOV from social relief
The BES Social Relief Decree Policy Rules (Beleidsregels Besluit onderstand BES) were changed as of 1 January 2016. These stipulate, among others, that AOV claimants who do not receive the full AOV benefit qualify for a financial allowance. In this case, the interested party should meet all social relief conditions. This means that income and assets will be assessed in accordance with the conditions of the BES Social Relief Decree.
The AOV allowance amounts were adjusted in 2016, based on new research (2015) into the differences in price levels between the islands. Before 2016, the amounts for these allowances on St Eustatius and Saba were set at 2 percent and 8 percent respectively of the AOV benefit on Bonaire. During the new measurement in 2015, the price level on St Eustatius was 7 percent higher than in Bonaire. As a result, the allowance amount increased from 13 US dollars in 2015 to 41 US dollars in 2016. On Saba, the price level was even 10 percent higher, as a result of which the allowance amount increased from 51 US dollars in 2015 to 59 US dollars in 2016.