Present, but not fit for work

ABSENTEEISM is no longer the biggest problem in Fiji’s workforce.

This was revealed in Parliament by Employment Minister, Jone Usamate, who said the biggest problem now was presenteeism.

Mr Usamate said presenteeism was when workers are present at work, but cannot deliver because they smoke too much, eat the wrong food and are on hangover.

He explained this to Parliament while supporting the State’s tax increment on cigarettes, alcohol, sugar sweets and beverages.

He said the cost to business houses of presenteeism was higher than absenteeism.

“All of us know the two biggest problems that face the Pacific — one is climate change, two is non-communicable diseases,” he said.

“These three products — cigarettes, alcohol and tobacco — are the biggest causes of NCDs.

“If you look at the money that Government spends in hospitals for inpatients, most of it is because people are taking too much of these things.”

Mr Usamate said the Government wanted to create an environment where people were compelled to do the right thing.

He said the 15 per cent tax increment was a proactive approach to combat the NCDs crisis.

“So for somebody to say that, worry about the amount of taxation to put up.

“In the workforce, I look after employment and one of the problems now is our workers have this Monday disease, people don’t come to work.”

Mr Usamate said the fact that the 15 per cent tax increment was going to be consistent was a good idea.

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