Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate has emphasized that all workers need to be paid proper wages for any overtime work, and that the national minimum wage of $2.68 needs to be adhered to.
“If you work five days a week, the maximum hours you can work in one day and still get the normal rate of pay is nine hours in one day,” he said while consulting with workforce employers and the public at Nadi Civic Center today.
“So you can either work a five-day week- nine hours per day, or a six-day week which is eight hours per day. You are also entitled to be paid on public holidays.
If you work more than the hours you should be working in one day, your rate of pay should increase.
“If your normal length of one day should be nine hours and your workplace wants you to work for an additional hour, the amount of money that you’re paid for that tenth hour should be more than for the first ninth hours- overtime pay. Normally, for the first two hours of overtime, you should be paid time and a half. So if your normal wage is $4 per hour, then your overtime hours should be $6 per hour. This is very important. I’ve met a lot of people – those who work in schools as handymen- and some of them work from 6am to 6pm, and get the same rate of pay. That is illegal.”
Minister Usamate reminded attendees that the national minimum wage of $2.68 per hour also applied to babysitters, and said many complaints were also being received on construction and building companies reportedly paying their staff inconsistently.
“I have come across many cases around Fiji about people getting $1 or $1.50 per hour. You cannot pay lower than $2.68 per hour. Already this week, I’ve heard of security officers getting $2.40 per hour- that’s illegal. My ministry needs to know, so we can take action to make sure that people get what they deserve.”
His consultations are amid changing employment relation laws, the new National Employment Policy and a transition of the worker’s compensation scheme. They are also to clarify new provisions of the National Budget 2018/2019 that employers must take note of; Paternity Leave, Family Care Leave, Medical Insurance and extended Maternity Leave.
Minister Usamate’s consultations were also held at Lautoka City Council this afternoon, and he is also meeting with members of the public who wish to share their employment issues.
Tomorrow, consultations will be hosted at Ba Civic Center (10am), Tavua Town Council (12pm), Tavaulevu Village (1:30pm), George Shiu Raj Building in Rakiraki (3pm) and Navuavua Village at 4pm.