The Ministry of Economic Development, on Tuesday, confirmed having received 78 concerns from the public, within the 3 days since the ministry made its initial call to the public urging employee to report salary deductions, terminations and other issues that may surface over the economic downturn brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.
Speaking to local news outlet Mihaaru, the economic ministry stated that the majority of issues reported were over job dismissals and being placed on mandatory no-pay leaves. They also disclosed that most of the complaints came from employees working in the tourism sector.
Since the spread of the disease and mandatory quarantines have led to businesses closing down and reducing costs, recession fears are on the rise. Many have taken their worries to social media, expressing ways cutbacks could, in the weeks and months to come, affect the living situation of employees working in all aspects of industry.
In response, the economic ministry on Saturday released a statement encouraging all individuals to call out employers terminating staff or deducting pay and report their situation via the reporting module on their online platform www.jobcenter.mv , at their earliest.
According to the ministry, the government has taken an initiative to introduce financial schemes aimed at maintaining company cash flow, in addition to other measures all meant to provide assistance to businesses facing economic setbacks over the global health pandemic.pa
On March 19, Minister of Finance, Ibrahim Ameer revealed that the government will introduce financial packages worth MVR 2.5 billion to combat the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Finance Minister, these measures were intended to prevent the closing down of local businesses and prevent loss of jobs. Thus, one of the set conditions of eligibility to acquiring said financial aid is having opted to not deduct any amount from salaries and allowances of their employees.
However, there are multiple reports on social media alleging that already resorts and companies have decreased salary and allowances, and have moved to notify staff of said changes. Many companies have also reported the measures taken of their own accord, citing extraordinary circumstances.
Nevertheless, in conversation with Edition's journalists, top lawyers in the country urged all employees to take note of the circumstances and reasoning under which they are terminated, further advising employees, both local and expatriate, to not hesitate in approaching the Employment Tribunal should they feel like they have been wronged.
Maldives currently has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10 active cases. The country recorded its first two recoveries on Friday, and the third this Saturday. No Maldivians have tested positive for the virus as of yet. So far, only tourists and resort employees have confirmed infections with no local transmissions.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 308,400 and claimed over 13,000 lives around the world. Out of those infected, more than 95,800 have recovered.