MEMBERS of the Fiji National Provident Fund cannot be victimised by their employers for questioning unpaid and or late FNPF contributions, according to the FNPF Decree 2011.
"They have the right to query their FNPF contributions to confirm that what is being deducted from their pay and their employers' contribution is being paid into their account," said FNPF chief executive Aisake Taito.
"Therefore, it is illegal to harass, terminate, demote or even transfer or change the position of an employee who enquires about his FNPF contributions."
Mr Taito says FNPF stands ready to protect its members from employers who victimise them for questioning unpaid and or late contributions.
"For too long our members have feared questioning or complaining about their contributions and as a result, suffered financial loss on their hard-earned savings," he said.
Mr Taito said there had been instances where workers had admitted the fear of reporting unpaid contributions because of being terminated, transferred, demoted, physically harassed or even forced to resign.
Section 139 of the FNPF Decree stipulates that in the event of a worker being victimised by his/her employer on the grounds that the worker has taken steps to protect his entitlement or to ensure that the employer complied with the obligations in relation to the decree or under the former law, the employer commits an offence.
An FNPF statement said written or oral complaints against such employers could be made to the FNPF by the workers or a group of workers or a third party in relation to deductions, pay slips, non-payment of contributions or any other issue relating to FNPF contributions.
"Once such a complaint is referred for prosecution or an action for recovery of damages has been filed, the burden of proof is on the employer to establish that they have not victimised their workers for ascertaining his/her rights in regards to FNPF contributions."
Mr Taito urged employers to pay contributions on time to ensure no such complaints or action is taken against them.
"FNPF contributions must be paid and the employer should ensure this is paid on time."