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Fiji Time: 1:00 AM on Thursday 24 April

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Work age review in the pipeline

Felix Chaudhary
Thursday, February 28, 2013

RECOMMENDATIONS are being made to raise the minimum working age from 15 to 16 years.

This was revealed by Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Minister Jone Usamate at the Fiji National Child Labour Forum earlier this week.

The issue was raised as the ministry and government began finalising reforms to the Employment Relations Promulgation.

"Work on the revisions to the Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) is nearing completion. There has been a recommendation made by the ERAB (Employment Relations Advisory Board) sub-committee to raise the minimum working age from 15 to 16 years old. This will be considered by the full ERAB," he said.

Mr Usamate said the recommendation was being made, taking into account the hardships and realities faced by the people of Fiji.

"In revising our laws, we have taken special cognizance of the importance of taking into account the realities that people in Fiji face on a day-to-day basis. This is always critical because it is not possible to adopt idealistic solutions," he said.

International Labour Organization's South Pacific office director David Lamotte said the ERP was a good piece of legislation that needed improvements to make it better.

"Fiji has a very good employment law in the ERP and from our understanding the employer and employee organisations have said that it is the sound basis for industrial relations in the country," he said.

"However, there are some areas that perhaps could be improved upon."