AG announces a new hiring subsidy program called Stronger Together Job Support Scheme which will allow govt to directly subsidize the wages of eligible new employees

AG announces a new hiring subsidy program called Stronger Together Job Support Scheme which will allow govt to directly subsidize the wages of eligible new employees

By Iva Danford
Saturday 03/10/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has today announced a new hiring subsidy program called the Stronger Together Job Support Scheme.

While making the announcement, Sayed-Khaiyum says this hiring scheme will allow government to directly subsidize the wages of eligible new employees or hires made by employers who are approved as Strong Together Employers.

Sayed-Khaiyum says employers in the private sector, public enterprises, registered NGO’s and Municipal Councils are all invited to express their interest in partnering with government in this initiative.

Under this scheme, the government will be paying the minimum wage of $2.68, while the employers will be paying the rest to make up for the respective sectorial minimum wage.

Sayed-Khaiyum says employers must also pay the FNPF contribution and any other associated costs.

He says this scheme is temporary which means that employers who have partnered with government through this scheme are not locked into these hires.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the cut off date for this scheme is the third week of October.

He says government will make a determination whether to extend this scheme if necessary.

The Minister says to prevent this initiative from curtailing existing employment, new employees will be considered against existing staff numbers as of 30th September 2020 as verified through FNPF.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they have particular preference for this scheme like Fijians who are without FNPF, who are or who were working in the informal sector, Fijians with FNPF membership whose contribution has been ceased prior to 30th September 2019, and Fijians who are currently receiving assistance under phase two and three.

He says this means that if these employees are successfully employed under the new scheme, they will forgo the $220 unemployment assistance.

Sayed-Khaiyum says if these people are unemployed after participating in the job support scheme, they can reapply for the $220 phase two and three assistance assuming that the former employee is not able to re-hire them.

He says Fijians who are currently receiving Social Welfare payments are eligible but will have to forego their payment if they are successfully employed.

Sayed-Khaiyum says recipients of the recently announced concessional loan of the FNPF pensioners do not qualify for employment under this scheme.

He says they have already paid out $15 million in the concessional loan.

He adds that this initiative will be managed by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service in collaboration with FNPF, Ministry of Economy and other relevant government agencies.

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