Fiji - Social development

Employed workers are eligible for retirement, disability, and survivor benefits, to which they contribute 7% of their wages, matched by their employers. A lump sum is payable to citizens moving out of the country, and to female employees after marriage. Employers also pay for workmen's compensation, covering both temporary and permanent disability benefits.

The constitution provides women with equal rights and includes affirmative action provisions for the disadvantaged. Amendments that took effect in 1998 address legal discrimination against women in the areas of spousal and offspring rights. Fijian women primarily fulfill traditional roles, although some do attain leadership roles in the public and private sectors. Garment workers, who are mainly female, are subject to a lower minimum wage than that stipulated for other workers. Domestic abuse appears to be on the increase partially due to economic hardship, and an active women's rights movement is addressing the issue.

The government overtly promotes the rights of ethnic Fijians over that of other ethnic groups. Ethnic Fijians predominate in senior government positions and in the ownership of land. Although Indo-Fijians may be found in senior positions in the private sector, few are in government. Indo-Fijians are sometimes subject to discrimination. Human rights abuses are occasionally reported. However, Fiji's major human problem remains discrimination against ethnic minorities.

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