Two thirds of companies in Fiji surveyed by IFC believe COVID-19 has increased employees’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence

Two thirds of companies in Fiji surveyed by IFC believe COVID-19 has increased employees’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence

By Priteshni Nand
Wednesday 27/05/2020
The International Finance Corporation

Two thirds of companies in Fiji that were surveyed by the International Finance Corporation about the impact of COVID-19 believe the pandemic has increased employees’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence.

The International Finance Corporation is a member of the World Bank Group and the Fiji Human Resources Institute.

Fifteen companies were surveyed as part of an International Finance Corporation and Fiji Human Resources Institute webinar series called Rakorako: Building a Safe and Resilient Business to help the private sector address childcare demands and workplace responses to domestic and sexual violence.

According to the survey, some businesses had safe systems in place to allow their employees to work safely or use flexible options for work through providing laptops and mobile devices.

However, some businesses were not prepared for more complicated scenarios that might impact their employees such as an increase in childcare demands, clients’ aggression or domestic and sexual violence.

The survey also found that businesses needed support in mental health programs for employees, wage subsidies and financial support.

The findings will be discussed by businesses at the next session of the Rakorako webinars which will be held today and tomorrow.

Fiji Human Resources Institute President, Kameli Batiweti says employer supported childcare and workplace responses to domestic and sexual violence are relevant now more than ever to promote a safe and resilient business as companies cope with the impact of COVID-19.

He says overall, the survey found out that 93 percent of the businesses have been negatively affected by COVID-19 with main impacts centering around restrictions on operations, cuts in demand and in turnover or cash flow.

Batiweti says some companies have sent staff on leave and implemented home-based work.

He says COVID-19 has impacted the world all over and most economies are struggling to find solutions for the new normal.

International Finance Corporation Resident Representative for Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu, Deva De Silva says as businesses find solutions to survive, it is important they are also creating safe, family friendly and resilient workplaces.

FNPF Human Resources General Manager, Ravinesh Krishna says the Fiji National Provident Fund is providing counselling to its employees on parenting, domestic and sexual violence and financial stress management in COVID-19 times.

The series is built on the findings of two IFC reports released last year on the Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare in Fiji and the Business Case for Workplace Responses to Domestic and Sexual Violence.

IFC’s work in this area has been supported by the governments of Australia and New Zealand under the Fiji Partnership.

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