Work­er­men’s Com­pen­sa­tion Act?

Fiji Sun - - Comments - Satish Nakched, Suva Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

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.

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