Fiji health workers warned about refusing to work afterhours

Permanent Secretary of Health, James Fong Photo: Fiji Govt

Fiji’s healthcare workers who refuse to provide services to the public after hours have been warned they risk being terminated from their jobs.

Acting Health Secretary Dr James Fong said the “unprofessional behaviour” of some staff was brought to the ministry’s attention by concerned members of the public.

A letter dated 17 September from Fong was circulated to all staff reminding them of the importance of healthcare services.

Fong told the Fiji Times the issue was due to the non-payment of overtime and rural and remote allowances to staff.

He said there was a misunderstanding among some workers who think health services after hours had been suspended because overtime was not being paid anymore.

He said it was important to ensure people didn’t misuse that misunderstanding to give an excuse not to do their work after hours.

In the 2020/2021 National Budget, the Minister for Economy Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum announced that although civil servants were not going to receive pay cuts, it would be taking some measures to reduce spending.

The government had reduced meal allowances from $US9 to $US4 and instead of paying overtime, staff would be given time off.

The government had also said the rural housing allowance would be suspended.

Sayed-Khaiyum had said that compared with what was happening to jobs in Fiji and around the world, these were “extraordinarily light asks”.

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