JOSUA Ralulu has never missed a day of work so far this year.
As the father of five school-age children, the Tropik Wood Industries Ltd employee was looking forward to the end-of-year unused sick leave bonus pay.
Yesterday the 38-year-old got more than what he bargained for as he was among 500 workers of Fiji Pine Group of Companies who collected a month's pay — or 1.5 times their unused sick leave entitlements.
The initiative is aimed at engaging workers from the ground up and executive chairman Faiz Khan said the new payment system would inspire a happy workforce and thus increase productivity.
The 500 are hourly and fortnightly paid workers up to supervisor level. Management was not included in the payout.
He said the total bonus paid was $278,000 and the recipients were from Fiji Pine Ltd, Tropik Wood Industries Ltd, Fiji Forest Industries Ltd and Tropik Wood Products Ltd.
"This bonus comes as an initiative taken by the company to encourage a healthy, fit, dedicated, committed and punctual work force," said Mr Khan.
"It is entirely an initiative by our companies directly to each and every worker. It does not come out of any union log of claims."
Mr Ralulu said he was pleasantly surprised.
"I received more than $1500 and that's a lot of money for me and my family," he said.
"I want to thank the management because it will make a big difference to my family, especially with the holidays and preparation for school next year.
"I have also, for a long time, put off some renovations my home needed but now I can attend to it."
"I have been working here for 15 years and I am already motivated. I am looking forward to the end of next year."
Mr Khan said the normal annual sick leave entitlement was 15 days per worker.
"So those who did not miss any day of work this year due to sick leave got paid 22.5 days. On average there are less than 22 working days in a month so those who did not miss work received more than one month's pay as bonus."
"In addition to the bonus pay, those who did not miss work this year will also receive certificates of appreciation from the Pine Group of Companies."