employers are not too keen on hiring young women of child bearing age due
to new labour laws on maternity leave, it has been revealed.
The Fiji Employers Federation (FEF) made this revelation at its 48th annual
general meeting at the weekend.
It said that young Fiji women who have the potential to contribute to the
local job market are now part of a diminishing trend as employers stop hiring
child bearing women to escape paying 84 days of full pay.
The Employment Relations Promulgation 2007 calls for each employer of a
pregnant female to grant her 84 days of leave at full pay up to three
FEF president Dixon Seeto said it had been argued that it was the State
that was the ultimate beneficiary of the increase in the working population
of the country, not the employer of the female giving birth.
He said the FEF was also committed to the concept that the female herself
should not be penalised financially because she was about to give birth,
“but then, neither should her employer be penalised”.
He said it was equally important to realise that when a female employee was
sent on maternity leave, her employer had to fill the vacant position, and
subsequently, the employer would have to pay for maternity leave and the
“And in spite of the anti-discriminatory clauses of the Constitution, FEF
is aware of a developing trend whereby today’s employment opportunities for
young women of child bearing age are diminishing,” Seeto said.
“Even though the work on offer may be better done by a female worker, any
employer hiring new or replacement workers is aware that he immediately
takes on a contingent liability of 84 days on full pay every time he
employs a female workers.
“So he is beginning to understand this and now is not hiring women workers
even though they continue to apply,” he added.
Seeto said this trend was dangerous for young ladies who needed money to
survive and who may not be able to obtain gainful legal employment.
He said the FEF proposed that the State could offer to assist employers by
providing some measure of compensation.
“We suggest to the mini-economic summit that every employer with employees
on maternity leave should be permitted to claim 200 per cent of the cost of
the maternity payment as a claim against revenue for tax purposes, as is
now allowed for employers who take on ‘first timer’ job seekers,” Seeto
“Then we should see that young ladies will again be offered legitimate
employment and actively contribute to the productivity of the country.”