Minister: Claims on leave days not true

The Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, and Civil Services & Communications, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, answering questions by the participants at the open forum to speak on the 2018-2019 National Budget. PICTURE: JAKE CABANIUK

CLAIMS that the removal of compassionate leave and the introduction of student-free days for teachers would see them having fewer paid leave days than before is not true.

In a circular issued by Education Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to teachers on Sunday, he said in the current financial year’s budget, teachers would have more paid leave days during the school year.

He said teachers now had dedicated time set aside for their own professional development counted as paid work time.

“With the 2018-19 budget, teachers will have a higher number of paid leave days during the school year, inclusive of 21 sick days, three bereavement days, five family care leave days, regular school holidays, expanded paid maternity leave of 98 working days, and newly introduced paid paternity leave of five days,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said the fact was that teacher salaries were up an average of 12 per cent and salaries for school administrator positions were up an average of 28 per cent. “For example, the maximum salary for principals of large schools has increased from $50,700 to $110,400,” he said.

In a statement earlier released by the Fijian Teachers Association, FTA president Netani Druavesi claimed the leave without pay affected on teachers in rural areas as they left to supervise students in extra-curricular activities was inhumane.

Mr Druavesi said these activities included primary school rugby competitions, netball, Scouts jamboree and attending annual general meetings of the FTA and the Fiji Teachers Union.

“This is not to mention the long hours of supervision of students training after school and also during weekends, which were all teacher contributions without extra emoluments,” he said

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