EZ firm must give $120-$1,500 a month to workers’ welfare fund

BEZA frames policy for creating the fund

Jasim Uddin | Published: 22:53, Dec 17,2017 | Updated: 23:10, Dec 17,2017

 
 

A sign board of Mirsharai Economic Zone is seen in Chittagong. Enterprises located at economic zones will have to contribute up to $1,500 a month, based on the number of workers employed at their factories and commercial establishments, to the workers welfare fund. — New Age photo

Enterprises located at economic zones will have to contribute up to $1,500 per month, based on the number of workers employed at their factories and commercial establishments, to the workers welfare fund.
Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority will create the fund to be consisted with subscriptions contributed by the enterprises for ensuring welfare of economic zone workers.
BEZA will mainly focus on dispute resolution between workers and enterprises, and implementation of dormitory scheme and skill development of workers with the help of the fund.
Workers, however, will not get any direct grant from the fund though similar funds for export-oriented sectors have such provisions.
Central fund for the export-oriented readymade garment industry and other sectors formed as per the labour rules has provisions to give grants to workers and their family members in case of death, permanent disability due to accident at workplace or illness of workers.
BEZA on December 4 issued a gazette notification on the policy titled Bangladesh Economic Zones (Workers Welfare Fund) Policy-2017 in this connection.
According to the policy, the fund will be spent mainly for paying the fees and allowances of arbitrators, conciliators and counselors, implementing and management of dormitory scheme and skill development projects for workers.
Administrative cost for security management including setting up of digital security system in economic zones will also be borne from the fund.
BEZA will also arrange information, education and communication campaign, social awareness campaign, and take up other measures for moral uplift, like skill and occupational training, safety and social empowerment of the workers, according to the policy.
Monthly subscription rate will be $120 for an enterprise if the number of workers remained between 1 and 100.
The rate will be $150 for workers between 101 and 250, $240 for workers between 251 and 500, $300 for 501-1,000 workers, $420 for 1,001-1,500 workers, $480 for 1,501-2,000 workers, $600 for 2,001-3,000 workers and $850 for workers between 5,001 and 8,000 employed at a factory.
An enterprise will have to contribute $1,000 for 8,001-12,000 workers, $1,200 for 12,001-17,000 workers and $1,500 per month if the number of workers exceeds 17,001.
BEZA executive chairman Paban Chowdhury on Thursday told New Age that the policy came into force at once following issuance of the gazette notification.
He said that the main focus of the BEZA was to ensure avoiding labour unrest and conflict at the EZs as well as improving skills of workers and ensuring their accommodation.
Workers of export-oriented industries will also get their benefits as per provision of the fund for the sectors, he said.
‘We will take measures to maximise the welfare of workers under the fund and if necessary, we will review the policy to incorporate options to utilise the resources,’ he said.
BEZA will get time to address the issues in coming days when the EZs factories will start their operation in full swing as only some factories have started their operations so far, he added.

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