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Minimum wages

Sanjay Kumar,Suva
Monday, December 04, 2017

Through this column your avid readers have expressed their thoughts about minimum wages.

They may have taken sides because of their political affiliation in favour or against of increasing the wages of the varying value being floating around by different political parties.

Even if inflation is hitting the sky one has to be cautious of repercussion it may have, the half loaf would be lost to none in the case of immediate and overnight increase.

Any major hike will be catastrophic therefore there is a need to progressively increasing the wages. Possibly a 20 to 30 cents increase annually for the next four years. A set timeline for achieving the goal of a desired figure will be a win-win for both parties.

In the same breath there are organisations who make enough to reward their employees annually but they deliberately stick to the minimum set out legally.

Since we are in the peak period of booming business and extended hours of business shall become the norm the enforcement agencies must oversee the overtime and meal allowances are duly paid.

I believe a hotline for raising grievances shall be considered. There may be some unscrupulous employers who always take risks by not being employee friendly.

Pays and other benefits must be deposited rather than cash for easy verifications.

My recommendation is employees must have a representative, mandatory clause where employees are educated about their rights organised by labour department annually.

Split annual leaves without employees' consent, no appointment letters or a copy of such letters must be cross checked when audit visits are done by enforcement officers.

While minimum wages are needful, all existing avenues to maximising the workers' current entitlement must also be explored. I believe God knows any hotline made accessible will see an outpouring of complaints from aggrieved employees.

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