Fiji Labour Minister Considers Universal Minimum Wage Options

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Currently there is no inclusive minimum across industries

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 30, 2013) – A proposal to introduce and set a National Minimum Wage rate of $2.32 [US$1.23] for Fiji workers is still to be submitted to cabinet because a second option is being considered.

Speaking to FijiLive, Labour Minister Jone Usamate said a second figure has been recommended but would not say whether its more or less than the initial proposal.

He confirmed receiving the full submission from proposer and Commerce Commission chairman, Dr Mahendra Reddy.

"The submission has been forwarded to me to examine and make my comments as well as decision before its submitted to cabinet, which will decide whether to implement the recommendations.

"I will need time to think it through, because we will need to consider implications including how it will affect employers as well as workers." Given the delay, Usamate says its unlikely the NMW, if endorsed by cabinet, will be implemented as early as January 2014.

If approved, it will be implemented early next year, he said.

The NMW will impact particularly those workers who are not covered under the 10 Wages Council.

The council has ten sectors and each sector has its own minimum wage, but there are not inclusive to cover a considerable number of Fiji's workforce, particularly unskilled or semi-skilled labourers who fall between these sectors.

This is where the NMW comes in to ensure workers are paid just wages to support themselves while also ensuring employers can afford it, Usamate said.

The initial figure of $2.32 was decided upon following a survey around the country and consultations with stakeholders including employers.

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