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Move to amend labour law

Published : 29 Oct 2023 10:08 PM

The government is moving forward to amend the ‘Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006’ again in order to address the specific labour issues, including freedom of association and rights to collective bargaining.

    The Ministry of Labour and Employment had prepared the draft of ‘Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act, 2023’, increasing the maternity leave to 120 days from 112 days (16 weeks). 

The draft was approved by the Cabinet this month. State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian is likely to place the ‘Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Bill, 2023’ in the Parliament today (Sunday).  

KM Abdus Salam, senior secretary of Bangladesh Parliament Secretariat; said that the ‘Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Bill, 2023’ is also in the list of Sunday’s agenda. State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Monnujan Sufian is scheduled to place the Bill in the House. After placing the Bill in the House, it will 

be sent to the respective parliamentary standing committee for further scrutiny, he added.  

Now a female worker can avail 16 weeks as maternity leave--- eight weeks before the birth of a baby and eight weeks after the birth of the baby. The leave has been made 120 days in the draft law. A woman can enjoy the leave at her convenient time before or after the delivery of the baby.

Besides, the condition for formation of a trade union was eased in the proposed Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act, 2023.

To form a trade union, the signatures of 15 per cent workers are required in a company having over 3,000 workers and the signatures of 20 per cent workers are needed in a company having less than 3,000 workers. As per the existing law, 20 per cent signatures are required in both cases.

As per the proposed law, the decision of the Labour Appeal Tribunal can be challenged in the Appellate Division not in the High Court as the tribunal is headed by an HC judge.

Alam Hossain, director (admin) of OSHE Foundation (Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment); said that they want the ‘Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006’ to be amended to properly cover the issue of workers. 

Talking to Bangladesh Post on Saturday, Alam Hossain said, “As the Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Act, 2023 is going to be placed in the Parliament, it will go to the respective parliamentary standing committee for further scrutiny. We hope that labour issues will be properly addressed.” 

The Ministry of Labour and Employment earlier formed a tripartite committee to amend the labour law as per the suggested actions on labour rights provided by the European Union (EU).

The EU incorporated nine issues including amendment of the law, labour rules and EPZ labour law in line with International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions, establishing an action plan to eliminate child labour by 2025, combating violence against workers, increasing success rate of trade union registration application, eliminating backlog of cases at labour courts, filling the vacant posts of labour inspectors, ensuring proper work of remediation coordination cell and ratifying ILO conventions 29 and 138.

The ministry had formed a tripartite committee to amend the Bangladesh Labour Law in line with its promise to the EU and the draft of the proposed amended law was prepared as per the committee’s suggestions, said Md. Ehsan-E-Elahi, secretary of Ministry of Labour and Employment. 

Talking to the Bangladesh Post, the Labour Secretary also said that the government is working speedily to amend this law within a reasonable time.