COVID-19 Phase Two now open, includes Leave Without Pay

The second phase of the COVID-19 withdrawal scheme for members of the Fiji National Provident Fund now includes those who are on leave without pay.

Chief Executive Officer Jaoji Koroi said that while this phase was aimed at providing immediate relief for members who were genuinely unemployed, it has been extended to those who have been sent on leave without pay, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand that a lot of employers want to keep their employees and have opted to send them on leave without pay instead of ending their employment. That is why we are including that category of members in this phase now.”

“We will be relying on employers to be upfront with us regarding the status of their employees. Our team will also conduct the necessary checks to verify members’ employment status,” said Mr. Koroi.

Phase one is closed with a total of 85,959 members paid $54.2m.

“Submission of applications for phase two have been activated on the myFNPF and the Employers Portal, allowing members to apply from yesterday, June 9,” said Mr. Koroi.

“This means that all those members who received the $220 payment last Friday and are still or are now unemployed, can now submit their applications through the App or their employer, to receive the remaining payment of $880.”

“Other members who were not part of the payout on Friday but are unemployed, as well as those on leave without pay can also apply. These members will qualify for a total payment of $1,100 and this will be paid over five fortnights, beginning on June 23.”

“There is no need to rush because the payment of these funds will end in August, so members can apply any time before the stipulated deadline and they will receive their funds.”

Digital Process
Phase two will be a digitized process and members are encouraged to submit their applications through the myFNPF App or employers can lodge applications on members’ behalf.

The Fund will not receive application forms at its offices.

And while the forms will be available on the FNPF website or with employers, it will not be required when applying through the App.

“Given the high volume of applications in phase one, we are now automating the whole process for phase two. We understand that the on-boarding process for the App may be difficult initially, but we assure the members that their overall experience will be much better through the digital process.”

“We have allocated resources at all our offices, to assist members with their App registration process and we have enhanced the myFNPF App to enable members to apply digitally and at their convenience.”

“If they follow the processes outlined in the myFNPF App, they will find it easier, especially in terms of tracking their applications,” said Mr. Koroi.

Working together
While the Fund commended employers efforts to assist their staff with their COVID-19 relief in phase one, the Fund is relying on their honesty during this second phase of withdrawals.

“We’ve found that there are a few employers who were not compliant in terms of paying members’ contributions, however, we had made allowances during phase one to enable members to receive their relief funds.”

“While employers were not required to pay the contributions that were due, there’s an expectation – especially from the member – that these dues will be paid.”

“We understand that times are hard, we hope that there will no incidents of collusion between members and employers, to enable members to qualify for the phase two withdrawal.”

Mr. Koroi said that any attempts to defraud the Fund and Government, will be investigated.

FNPF Services
All services at the Fund’s offices will continue as normal during phase two, however, the FNPF Agency at Valelevu has been closed from Monday June 8.

“Please use the myFNPF App. The national health regulation for physical distancing is still effective and we are following this quite strictly at all our offices,” said Mr. Koroi.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of avoiding crowded areas for members’ safety at all times.”

Members are encouraged to use the Fund’s current contact modes and social media pages for enquiries or