May 27, holiday in Saint-Martin

Do we have to go to work? Will we be paid? Four FAQs about May 27


Is May 27 a normal holiday?

Yes, it’s a holiday just like Easter Monday or July 14. In France, the list of legal holidays has been fixed by Article L 3133-1 of the Labor Code. Therefore, the following are holidays: January 1, Easter Monday, May 1, the Feast of the Ascension, May 8, Whit-Monday, July 14, August 15, November 1,  November 11 and December 25.

Some local holidays are also legal holidays, such as slavery abolition day.


From a legal point of view, what is May 27?

The law of 30 June 1983 which was enacted by François Mitterrand stipulates that “the commemoration of the abolition of slavery by the French Republic and the end of all the engagement contracts as a result of this abolition are the subject of a holiday in the departments of Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, and Reunion, as well as in the territorial collectivité of Mayotte". A decree fixes the date for each of the territorial collectivités. In Guadeloupe, it’s on May 27. Saint-Martin, which used to be under the authority of Guadeloupe, therefore applies this date.

At the end of 2015, the Saint-Martin Territorial Council voted in favor of  transferring the commemoration to May 28 after historical documents had shown that the abolition of slavery was signed on the 28th and not on May 27 in Saint-Martin. But since this new date has not yet been recognized by the Republic by decree, the 27th is therefore maintained.


Do we have to go to work on May 27?

According to the law, only May 1  among the legal holidays is a mandatory non-working holiday, meaning that employees of the public and private sectors must not work on this day, although some exceptions may be warranted according to the nature of the activity. The other holidays including May 27, are not mandatory non-working holidays, except in the case of a collective agreement or if it is customary within the company. Generally speaking, the day of the commemoration of the abolition of slavery is a non-working holiday in the West Indies. The services of the Collectivité and the Prefecture will be closed on this day in Saint-Martin.


What about my salary?

According to the law, employees who are paid on a monthly basis will be paid normally in the case of a mandatory non-working holiday if they have at least three months of seniority in the company.

When employees work on a holiday, they receive their usual wages. No remuneration premium is imposed, except in the case of more favorable conventional provisions. (Except May 1: the wages of employees who work on this day are doubled).


Estelle Gasnet