The cabinet on Monday approved in principle the Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Bill 2018 to make harsher provisions against child labour in any industry and allow ‘light work’ for teens belonging to 14-18 age group.
The bill proposed reduction of the workers’ representation to 20 per cent from the existing 30 required for forming a union at a factory following recommendations of the International Labour Organisation.
The labour and employment ministry placed the bill in the weekly cabinet meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at the Cabinet Division.
‘The existing law conditionally allows appointment of children above 12 years for work that is not hazardous and does not impede their mental growth,’ state minister for labour Md Mujibul Haque told New Age on Monday.
He, however, said that the teens belonging to 14-18 age group would be engaged in such jobs as per the bill.
The bill proposes that the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments will have the authority to inspect factories within the Export Processing Zones to ensure workplace safety and other compliances.
At a briefing after the meeting, cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said that the bill was prepared and updated following the observations of the International Labour Organisation to make it labour friendly.
‘No child will be allowed to work in factories as per the proposed amendment. The employer will be fined Tk 5000 for employing any child worker at a factory,’ he added.
The bill proposes that the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment would be upgraded to directorate, the cabinet secretary said.
The post of the chief inspector of the department would be upgraded to inspector general, while deputy director general would additional inspector general and the post of labour director would upgraded to the rank of director general, Shafiul said.
The bill proposes prohibition of employment of any mentally and physically-challenged people in any risky work.
The bill proposes the fine of a factory owner would be increased to Tk 25,000 from the existing 5,000 for denying any female worker of her 8-week maternity leave after the birth of her baby.
According to the bill, a worker would be entitled to two-day leave and wage for two days for performing duty on a day during a festival, he said.
Both owners and workers will be jailed for one year with a fine of Tk 10,000 for misconduct, which is two years in the existing law.
The bill proposes that the punishment for enforcing strike illegally would be reduced to imprisonment for six months from the existing one year.
In case of death in workplace accident, the family of a worker will get Tk 2 lakh in compensation instead of the existing Tk 1 lakh, and in the case of permanent disability from workplace accident, each worker will get Tk 2.50 lakh instead of the existing Tk 1.25 lakh, the cabinet secretary said.
The labour court under the law would get 90 days to dispose of any case and in case of failure it would get another 90 days instead of the existing 60 days. In case of disposal of appeal, the tribunal would get 90 days and in case of failure another 90 days, he said.
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