Dhaka, Oct 8 (UNB) – The Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of Bangladesh Labour (Amendment) Bill, 2018 keeping more facilities, including festival allowances and 16-week maternity leave, for workers.
The approval was given at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at the Prime Minister’s Office with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam briefed reporters at the Secretariat.
“A new provision 2 (Ka) has been inserted in the proposed law for providing workers of any mill-factory or organisation with festival allowances on the eve of their respective religious festivals to be fixed by rules,” he said.
As per the draft law, the maternity leave will be of 16 weeks -- eight weeks before birth and eight weeks after birth. “The 16 weeks will be considered as maternity leave, which will not be deducted from the earned leave,” the Cabinet Secretary said.
Under the proposed law, he said, mentally and physically-challenged labourers cannot be employed in any risky work.
Besides, if any worker does his or her duty during any festival, he or she will get a one-day alternative leave and wage for two days after the festival as compensation.
Both the owners and workers will be sentenced to one year jail with a fine of Tk 10,000 for misconduct.
In the draft law, the punishment for enforcing strike illegally has been reduced to six months from one year.
As per the proposed law, Shafiul Alam said, the support of 51 percent workers is needed against present two-thirds of total workers to call a strike.
Under the proposed law, no child will be allowed to work in factories, he added.
Shafiul Alam said the workers will enjoy one-day holiday every week in factories and industrial mills, and one and a half days in case of shops and organisations.
In case of death caused by injuries, the family of the worker concerned will get Tk 2 lakh as compensation, which was Tk 1 lakh in the previous law, and in the case of life-time disabilities caused by injury, they will get Tk 2.50 lakh, which is now Tk 1.25 lakh.
As per the draft law, the government will have to give registration to a trade union within 55 days from receiving the application which was in 60 days in the previous law.
According to the ILO convention, the draft law has a scope to form a tripartite advisory council consisting of the government, owners and workers, Shafiul Alam said.
The draft bill has been prepared and updated following the observation of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The amended law will be a labour-friendly one, said the Cabinet Secretary.
Besides, the Cabinet approved in principle the draft of Bangladesh Technical Education Board Bill, 2018 increasing the number of board members to 22 from the existing 14.
The Cabinet Secretary said the draft bill was prepared updating the existing Technical Education Act 1967. “No major change was brought in the proposed law.”
He said the existing ‘board’ has been renamed as the board of directors. The number of members of the board headed by a chairman will be 22, which is now 14.
A new post of secretary of the board was created in the proposed law. “There’ll be a full-time secretary of the board who will be appointed by the government,” he added.
A number of provisions, including that (section-32) of indemnity, was removed from the law, the Cabinet Secretary said.
The retirement age was increased to 60 years from the existing 55 years to keep consistency with other boards, Shafiul Alam added.
The Cabinet also congratulated the U-18 national women football team for clinching the 2018 SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship remaining unbeaten in the tournament held in Bhutan.