Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate, while speaking during the public consultations in Navua and Sigatoka, has urged all employers to employ people living with disabilities.
“Under the new Fiji National Employment Policy 2018 which was launched on 31 August, Priority 8 focuses on how to make it easier for disabled persons and the elderly to earn an income. As an employer there will be provision of tax rebate of 300 per cent for three consecutive years which will be given by Fiji Revenue Customs Service (FRCS) for employment of person with disabilities,” Usamate said.
“According to the National Employment Policy, people with disabilities have limited opportunities for employment due to lower educational attainment, often caused by lack of accessibility to higher levels of education. As a result, they have lower employment rates than the wider population and where they are employed, they often experience discrimination at the workplace.”
The Employment Relations Act clearly states that people with disabilities is classified as an individual whose prospects of securing, retaining and advancing in suitable employment are substantially reduced as a result of a duly recognized physical or mental impairment.
Concerns were raised by the public to Usamate if it was still possible for a person with disabilities to return to work if the employer is willing to employ them.
Minister Usamate has assured that the Employment Relations Act states that an employer who employs 50 or more workers may employ physically disabled persons on a ratio of at least 2% of the total number of workers.
“If you are a person with a disability and looking for work, I encourage you to visit the nearest National Employment Centre and register for placement of jobs. With this registration we will then take it to employers who may want to employ you.”
Workers and employers must clearly understand this and seek clarifications from the Ministry if they are unsure of any issues related to their terms and conditions of employment.
Minister Usamate and his team started consultations on Monday from Navua to Sigatoka and on Tuesday from Nadi to Lautoka meeting with employers, workers and the public.
The consultations elaborated in detail the recent changes under the Employment Relations Law, Fiji’s new National Employment Policy (NEP), transition under Workers’ Compensation and other employment issues that affect them.
Consultations continue today in Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki.