Parveen Bala: Family Care Leave Misused

The worker should have completed more than three months continuous service with the same employer to be entitled to this leave.
18 Apr 2019 10:00

All employers in the country will need to develop an internal policy on the Family Care Leave implemented by the Government for all workers says Minister for Employment Parveen Bala.

In order to get the leave, employees will have to provide a certificate to their employers once changes are made.

The Government has given five days Family Care Leave to workers in the country to provide care or support to a member of the immediate family, which is either parents, wife or children.

The worker should have completed more than three months continuous service with the same employer to be entitled to this leave.

Also, the worker has to immediately notify the employer if he/ she is taking Family Care Leave.

The Family Care Leave was a hot issue of discussion yesterday afternoon during discussions to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2019 at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka.

A participant at the meeting asked if the worker could notify the employer just by a phone call that he/she was taking Family Care Leave, he was told by a facilitator at the discussions that it was okay.

Mr Bala then intervened and said there was a purpose for the leave given by the Government to the workers.

He said some workers had abused it, citing an example that about eight or nine employees of a company took Family Care Leave and at the same time went to their manager to negotiate salary increases.

“From next month, we are going to all employers, who need to develop a policy around this leave,” he said.

“Any employee who wants to get this leave has to provide a certificate.

“There has to be some internal agreement between the employer and employee on this leave.

The employee has to provide evidence for the reason to take this leave.”

Mr Bala said eight or nine teams from his ministry and the Solicitor-General’s Office would go around from next month and tell employers to develop policies on Family Care Leave.

Another participant asked Mr Bala for clarification on the leave, saying that he thought he could take the leave for his daughter’s graduation but now he had heard that it was for medical reasons only.

The participant said he was aware that some people had taken leave for such purposes.

Mr Bala said some people have been misusing the leave.

“We did a survey and 60 to 70 per cent of workers have taken this leave in the first quarter of this year, by the end of March,” he said.

“The Government gave this leave so the employer should have an internal policy on how it’s taken.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

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