The Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations has 2146 workers’ compensation cases that are pending as at February this year.
Of this, 319 are cases of death and 1,827 are injury cases.
Employment Minister Jone Usamate today told parliament that since 2016 the Ministry has recruited an additional 20 assistant labour officers that have undergone training on how to access and process these cases, in the hope that more staff will progress these cases.
He says that part of the measures taken by the ministry in addressing the outstanding number of workers compensation cases is the reviewing of its processes.
FijiFirst MP Balmindar Singh asked how recent amendments to the Worker’s Compensation Act has better assisted those workers who are injured or have died and the delay in compensations.
Usamate says that these amendments have made it mandatory that assessments are done by those doctors who have been trained on how to use the occupational injury or death codes, and this speeds up the process of compensating the workers or their families.
He says that the amendments have also given the labour officers the power to demand information from the employer to allow the Ministry to process the case.
Usamate told Parliament that if a worker is injured today, it takes the worker 12 to 18 months to assess the impact of the injury.