There were two minimum wages, one for the private sector and one for the public sector. Both minimum wages were below the official estimate of the poverty income level for a household. Approximately 75 percent of the working population worked in the subsistence economy and had no formal employment.
The law covers private- and public-sector workers differently. The law stipulates a standard workweek of a maximum of 40 hours, or eight hours per day (excluding mealtimes), and prohibits compulsory overtime. For the private sector, the law specifies overtime pay at time and a half, with double time for work on Sunday and public holidays, and triple time for overtime on such days. For the public sector, there is no paid overtime, but authorities give compensatory time off for overtime work. There are generally nine paid public holidays per year.
The law establishes certain rudimentary safety and health standards for workplaces, which the MCIL is responsible for enforcing. The law also covers persons who are not workers but who are lawfully on the premises or within the workplace during work hours. The 2014 Occupational Safety and Health Regulations Act contains provisions for the identification, assessment, and risk control for workplace hazards and hazardous substances, but it does not contain a list of hazardous occupations or work.
Safety laws do not generally apply to agricultural service rendered to the matai or work in a family enterprise. Government employees have coverage under different and more stringent regulations, which the Public Service Commission enforced adequately.
Independent observers reported that the MCIL did not strictly enforce safety laws, except when accidents highlighted noncompliance. It investigated work accidents when it received reports. The penalties and the number of inspectors were generally sufficient to deter violations.
Many agricultural workers had inadequate protection from pesticides and other dangers to health. Government education and awareness programs addressed these concerns by providing appropriate training and equipment to some agricultural workers.
The Ministry of Labor investigates any potential labor law violations in response to complaints. Other relevant government ministries can assist if needed.
The commissioner of labor investigates reported cases of hazardous workplaces. Workers are legally able to remove themselves from situations that endanger health or safety without jeopardy to their employment. The MCIL received reports of 19 work-related accidents during the year, one of which was a fatality.