Usamate outlines new leave provisions

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jone Usamate. Picture: FT FILE

EMPLOYMENT minister Jone Usamate today outlined the new leave provisions announced in the 2018/2019 National Budget which will come into effect from January 1, 2019.

These are family care leave and parental leave which includes paternity leave and the increase in maternity leave days.

The new leave provisions have been formalised under the Employment Relations (Budget Amendment) Act 2018.

According to Mr Usamate, family care leave is taken by workers who wish to provide care and support to members of the worker’s immediate family or a member of the worker’s household.

“The worker is entitled to family care leave of not less than five working days during each year of service.  Family care leave must not be accumulated and unused family care leave will automatically lapse in the next year,” he said in a statement today.

Mr Usamate added that family care leave is applicable to workers that have completed more than three months continuous service with the same employer.

Paternity leave is a first for Fiji where fathers and de facto partners will be able to take up to five days of paternity leave before or after the birth of their children.

This leave can be taken three months before or three months after the birth of a child.

“For paternity leave a worker is entitled to not less than five working days,” Mr Usamate said.

“It emphasizes that taking time out of paid work to care for a child is part of the usual course of life and work for parents, and promotes a balance between work and family life.”

The maternity leave will also increase from 84 days to 98 days come January 1, 2019.

A 150 per cent tax deduction was also announced for businesses paying salaries to those employees during the time they take paternity and family care leave.

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