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50 Sick Leaves In A Year

50 Sick Leaves In A Year
Minister Jone Usamate.
October 07
12:25 2017

Absenteeism continues to be one of the major problems in many workplaces around the country, says Jone Usamate.

The Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations said some workers in Ba were taking up to 50 sick leaves in a year.

This issue was highlighted yesterday during a public consultation at the Ba Town Council office in Ba.

The matter was brought to his attention after concerns were raised that employees had abused their rights to bereavement and sick leaves.

In some cases, in some workplaces in Ba in the private sector, people had reached between 40 to 50 sick leaves within a year.

Some employers in Ba told the forum that they couldn’t terminate people as it would be a loss to their companies because they had invested in the training of their staff.

Mr Usamate said it was an issue within the private and public sector, which had already been brought to his attention.

He reassured these companies that they would assist in addressing the issues.

“The issue of absenteeism has been brought to our attention a couple of times, we deal with close to 7000 employers on a daily basis, this is one of the problems we have seen,” he said.

Earlier during the week, Mr Usamate said presenteeism – the practice of being present at one’s place of work for more hours than is required, especially as a manifestation of insecurity about one’s job – also presented a problem in the country.

He said the Harvard Business Reviews had stated that the loss of productivity due to presenteeism is 7.5 times higher than that on costs of absenteeism.

Mr Usamate said this fact had often been lost on employers but it had a huge impact on productivity.

Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation chief executive officer, Nesbitt Hazelman said:

“We have equal concerns and we support the ministry on this issue, this is one of the major issues in workplaces in this country.

“We cannot compete with other world markets if we continue to have this attitude.

“Not coming to work will not improve productivity, they expect a pay increase but they never turn up to work.

“If they want to share the benefits than they should work.

“Productivity will decrease if the issue continues to rise and we won’t be able to compete with the world market.

“This is a systematic problem in Fiji, for example, if we have found that around 100 employees don’t turn up to work on Mondays, how will these garment factories function?

“Business is lost; they aren’t able to achieve their target for a day.

“The issue needs to be addressed in any shape or form. This issue has a flow on effect, if they want their salary increased than they should come to work.

“If not, they will have to learn to live with what they get.”

On the same note, Mr Usamate urged employers shouldn’t be paying their employees below the new minimum wage of $2.68.

“Most of the employers we deal with are mostly from the wholesale or retail sector,” he said.

“We have seen that some have been paying their employers $50 a week when it is supposed to be $80.”

Mr Usamate also said one of the major problems that hindered their work was the limited number of staff members they had.

“Our inspector cannot be in all the places at one time because we have a limited number of staff,” he said.

“What we try to do is inspect the red zone areas which are usually our main priorities.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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1 Comment

  1. iftaar
    iftaar October 09, 12:18

    Monday fever is very common and has rapidly increased for past years.

    One of the contributing factor are public holidays. Public holidays are reduced by government and also holidays are established in the middle of the week.
    if public holidays can be adjusted to either Monday or Friday it would make a difference.
    if we had enough public holidays distributed equally throughout the year, we could have a productive and efficient work environment.

    These adjustments could reduce the number of sick leaves taken by employees (especially Monday sick leaves). It is important to motivate employees as well, giving them better options to work in a friendly and productive environment.

    Reply to this comment

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