Workermen’s Compensation Act?
We have in Fiji a Workmen’s Compensation Act Chapter 94, which deals with anyone who is injured at work and even in a case of fatality. Depending on the nature of the injury, the victim or the family of the deceased can claim liability through the courts. This Act has been in existence since 1965 when the workforce in Fiji was male-dominated and all the references made in the legislation when referring to any person mentioned the words “he” or “him “throughout the documentation. Since then, the workforce scenario has changed dramatically and females now command a huge work percentage. Many are holding top range employment and this trend will continue to grow. A good indicator is the number of female students graduating from institutions around the country. When the landscape in the workforce was changing the Workmen’s Compensation Act should have been progressive and removed the word “Workmen compensation Act” and be replaced with “Workers compensation Act”.
The title of the said Act is discriminatory in nature and not in line with Government’s vision of equality for everyone.
An amendment to the Act was carried out in 2015, but missed out in correcting discriminatory issues.
I believe that this exercise must be carried out by the new minister to remove any irrelevant and obsolete words or phrases from the document.
This is in the view to create a legislation which is robust and in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights global trend of gender equality.