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Early Christmas For Retired Female Civil Servants

Christmas came early for 100 female former civil servants who were handed their pension cheques; money which they were deprived of because of archaic regulations. Acting prime minister and Attorney-General,
04 Dec 2014 11:05
Early Christmas For Retired Female Civil Servants

Christmas came early for 100 female former civil servants who were handed their pension cheques; money which they were deprived of because of archaic regulations.

Acting prime minister and Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, handed out the cheques yesterday and apologised to the women for the laxity of previous governments who overlooked their plight for some 44 years.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s arrival at the Finance Ministry’s boardroom was accompanied by cheers and claps by the retired civil servants who had given up hope on seeing their pension payment.

These women had been robbed of their pensions because colonial rules dictated that after a woman gets married, her previous period of service is not taken into account when total years worked is calculated.

Based on this, some women who had worked for as many as ten years before getting married had their total service years greatly reduced which resulted in them receiving less pension.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “I have to apologise to you first of all for the many years you had to wait to receive this recognition of your service to the public service in Fiji, in particular prior to independence.”

When the matter was first brought to the notice of the Bainimarama Government, files from the Archive had to be brought out to identify the women and their service years.

“There was a lot of unfortunate advice given to previous governments and at times advice was given that these women need to be recognised and the payment needs to be made but there were two successive governments that did not have the political will to do so.”

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama gave out the first batch of cheques to 50 women last month.

More women who have sent in their information and expressed interest are to be paid in the coming months.

For this initiative $2.5million has been allocated in the 2015 budget.

The women were also given the option of having their cheques cashed straight away by the Finance Ministry staff, have a cash cheque made out to them or to have their cheques deposited in their bank accounts.

With a minimum amount of $2000 some women, based on their years of service before marriage, received more than $10,000.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the FijiFirst Government was now fixing some of the wrongs of the past such as the pension for women.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 




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