Suva, Fiji, May 27, 2020— Two thirds
of companies in Fiji who were surveyed by IFC, a member of the World Bank
Group, and the Fiji Human Resources Institute (FHRI) on the impact of COVID-19
believe the pandemic has increased employees’ experiences of domestic
and sexual violence.
Fifteen companies were surveyed as part
of an IFC and FHRI webinar series, Rakorako: Building a Safe and Resilient
Business to help the private sector address childcare demands and workplace
responses to domestic and sexual violence.
“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”, FHRI President, Kameli Batiweti said.
Overall the IFC- FHRI COVID-19 survey
found 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. Some companies have
sent staff on leave and implemented home-based work.
“COVID-19 has impacted the world all
over and most economies are struggling to find solutions for the “new
normal”,” IFC Resident Representative for Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati
and Tuvalu, Deva De Silva said. “As businesses find solutions to survive,
it is important they are also creating safe, family friendly and resilient
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.
But 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 Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF)
is providing counselling to its employees on parenting, domestic and sexual
violence and financial stress management in COVID-19 times,” FNPF Human
Resources General Manager, Ravinesh Krishna said.
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, to be held today,
May 27 and tomorrow, May 28. 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. “With Rakorako, we are aiming to build
resilient Fijian businesses that create opportunities for both women and
men to fully utilize their talents at work, by developing solutions to
fit the workplace, ” IFC Gender Specialist, Ellen Maynes said.
“This is an important objective in Fiji where women are underrepresented
in the workforce and leadership in business.”
IFC’s work in Fiji is supported by the governments of Australia and New
Zealand under the Fiji Partnership
to unlock private sector investment,
promote sustainable economic growth and boost shared prosperity in Fiji.
IFC—a sister organization of the World
Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work
in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence
to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal
year 2019, we invested more than $19 billion in private companies and financial
institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private
sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,