Fiji's economy is ranked 18th out of 43 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and its overall score is marginally above the regional and world averages. The country has the 81st freest economy according to the 2019 Economic Freedom Index due to significant improvements in judicial effectiveness and government integrity.
The combined value of imports and exports equals 78% of the GDP. The major growth contributors are public administration & defense, construction, wholesale & retail trade, manufacturing, and the financial & insurance activities.
Currency: Fijian Dollar
Principal Languages: Fijian, Fiji Hindi, English
Government: Parliamentary System, Republic, Military Junta, Parliamentary Republic
Capital City: Suva
Major Cities: Levuka, Lautoka, Nadi, Labasa
Under the Employment Act, parts V and VI outline verbal and written contracts of service. The only restriction under written contracts is regarding the minimum age (15) of employment under section 37(1). A young individual (between the ages of 15 and 18) may not be permitted to enter into an employment contract, except for the occupations approved by the district or labor officer. These occupations must not be injurious to these employees’ moral or physical well-being under the section 37(2).
Verbal contracts may apply where wages are paid on a daily basis to workers each day or for periods of up to 1 month. Under sections 22 and 23, if a contract extends beyond 1 month, the employer and employee are presumed to have entered into a new verbal contract for a similar period on the same terms and conditions.
Certain employment contracts are required to be in writing: section 38(1) lists them as:
- when they are for a period of or exceeding 6 months or some working days equivalent to 6 months
- when they stipulate conditions of employment that differ materially from those customary in the district of employment for the work of similar nature, or
- when it is a foreign contract of service.
Under section 35(1), every contract should be attested by a district officer, labor officer or any other officer authorized for this purpose. In addition to the original copies of attested employment contract, 3 more copies are required. 1 copy shall be given to the employer, 1 to the employee, and 1 to the CEO for Labor.
An employment contract cannot allow more than 48 hours (excluding overtime) and/or 6 days of work in a week. If the contract states that no more than 45 hours of work can be performed by an employee in a week then the work schedule should not contain more than 5 days of work in a week.
The following public holidays are observed in all workplaces:
- Jan 1: New Year’s Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Saturday
- Easter Monday
- Sept 9: Constitution Day
- Oct 10: Fiji Day
- Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday
- Dec 25: Christmas Day
- Dec 26: Boxing Day
If Christmas Day, Diwali or Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday must be a public holiday. Similarly, if New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday must be declared a public holiday. If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the following Monday must be a public holiday. If Boxing Day falls on a Sunday or Monday, the following Tuesday must be a public holiday.
The Employment Regulations, 1965 (amended in 1976), Part IV, specify annual holidays with pay in the following terms. According to the regulation 12, after working for a year with an employer, an employee is entitled to 10 working days holiday paid at the regular wages.
An employee is not entitled to paid annual holidays in a year during which the worker has been absent from work for more than 20 working days. The only exception is absence due to sickness, which is certified by a medical practitioner, or the employee is excused from work by the employer or is unable to attend due to any other cause acceptable to the employer.
If an employee is entitled to a paid annual holiday, the employer must permit the worker to take the leave for an uninterrupted period or, in two or more periods, one of which must be a continuous period of 1 week.
An employee who has continuously worked for more than 3 months with the same employer and who is incapable of work due to sickness or injury, is entitled to the paid sick leave of no less than 10 working days during each year of service.
To be entitled to sick leave, an employee has to:
- notify the employer of his/her absence and the reason for it whenever it is reasonably practicable, and
- submit, if requested by the employer, a written certificate signed by a registered medical practitioner, certifying the employee’s incapacity for work.
Sick leave entitlement must not be accumulated and unused sick leave for each year is not carried over to the next year.
A woman employee who expects to give birth is entitled to maternity leave for a period of 84 consecutive days provided she submits a certificate to her employer from a registered medical practitioner or registered nurse that states the possible date of birth.
Entitlement of paid maternity leave is as follows:
- For the first 3 births, to the regular wages that she would have received if she had been at work, and
- For the 4th and subsequent births, to half the regular wages that she would have received as if she had been at work.
A woman who was employed for a total period of no less than 150 days during the 9 months before the birth of her child is entitled to paid maternity leave as set out in the section (74(2)) of the Employment Act.
If the woman would be entitled to claim wages (under section 4 of the Employment Act) from more than one employer, the Permanent Secretary, labor officer or labor inspector must determine the amount of wages that each employer must pay.
A woman employee who returns to work after maternity leave:
- must be appointed to the same or equivalent position held before going on maternity leave, without losing salary, wages, benefits, and seniority, or
- may be appointed to a higher position.
A worker who has provided more than 3 months’ uninterrupted service to the same employer is entitled to 3 days' paid bereavement leave in a year, in addition to any other leave entitlement.
The Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) provides two types of individual accounts for employees:
- A Preserved Account, which is primarily for retirement (first-time homebuyers may withdraw a portion of the balance before retirement), and
- A General Account that may be accessible before retirement for education, unemployment, medical, housing, and other approved expenses.
Provident Fund: Employed individuals who live in Fiji.
Voluntary coverage for self-employed individuals, students, household workers, some foreign workers employed in Fiji, and workers in certain informal sectors.
Exclusions: Employees whose employer's primary place of business is out of the country.
Special coverage for civil servants and military and police personnel who began working before November 1971 and opted to carry on under the Civil Service Pension Scheme.
Source of Funds
Provident Fund: 8% of total wages; F$35 is deducted annually from an employee’s provident fund account (Special Death Benefit). Additional voluntary contributions of up to 12% of total wages (paid by the insured person, the employer, or both) can also be done.
The maximum combined insured employee and employer contribution is 30% of total wages.
Out of the combined insured employee and employer contribution, 70% is allocated to a Preserved Account and 30% to a General Account.
Provident fund: 10% of payroll up to age 65. Also, voluntary contributions of up to 12% of total wages (paid by the insured individual, the employer, or both) can also be done.
The maximum combined insured employee and employer contribution is 30% of total wages.
Employed individuals and apprentices.
Exclusions: Casual labor, family labor, military personnel, self-employed persons, some public-sector employees, and other workers designated by the government.
Source of Funds
Insured Person: None.
Employer: Provides benefits directly to employees.
Must be incapable of work for at least 3 days.
Temporary Disability Benefits
An employee with a temporary disability receives 66% of the insured's weekly income after a 2-day waiting period for up to 260 weeks.
The maximum benefit amounts to F$50,000 (partial disability) or F$67,000 (total disability). The benefit may be converted into a lump-sum payment in certain cases.
The assessed degree of disability is established according to a schedule in law and following a check-up by a doctor selected by the employer. Periodic assessment may be required to determine the degree of disability.
Permanent Disability Benefits
In the case of total disability, a lump sum of 260 weeks’ earnings is paid to a concerned employee.
- The minimum lump-sum benefit is F$6,000
- The maximum lump-sum benefit is F$67,000
Constant-attendance Supplement: For a total disability, 50% of the lump sum is paid if the insured person requires constant attendance of others to perform day-to-day functions.
Partial Disability: A percentage of the lump sum is paid to an employee for a total disability based on the assessed degree of disability.
- The minimum lump-sum benefit is F$3,000
- The maximum lump-sum benefit is F$50,000
The assessed degree of disability is determined according to a schedule in law and following a medical check-up by a doctor selected by the employer. Periodic assessment may be required to determine the degree of disability.
Workers' Medical Benefits
Benefits include medical and hospital care, surgery, medicine, appliances, and transportation.
Provident fund members may draw down a portion of their account balance during periods of unemployment.
How GPS can Help
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