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The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce is working with the local Human Resource Practitioners Network to develop an employer guide to managing workplaces during COVID-19. Development of the guide comes as uncertainty continues with the arrival of positive cases into Solomon Islands through repatriation flights.

“It was evident that HR practitioners need clear government policies or guidelines on key labour and HR related issues such as repatriation, allowances and many more,” Chair of the HR Practioners Network, Nancy Palmer says.

“A contingency plan is needed which includes a nation-wide matrix that communicates the level of risk the country is on which helps in the management of people and resources.

“There is a need for HR advisory services, mentoring and counselling services to address associated mental health issues,” she adds.

Soltuna, which employs 2000 Solomon Islanders, says the dilemma is how to pay workers when a lockdown shuts operations.

“In the case where community transmission of COVID-19 has occurred and we go into lockdown of more than four weeks, how are we going to pay the employees?” said HR Manager Bela Simiha.

“Apart from the annual leave there is sick leave but the question remains if its legal to do this while workers cannot go to work due to a lockdown.

“That is why we need to have some guidelines and directives from Government because it is also unacceptable to tell workers to go on leave without pay,” she said.

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