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Bangladesh: Cabinet Adopts Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy

Bangladesh: Cabinet Adopts Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy

by IDWFED published Dec 21, 2015 12:00 AM
Contributors: bdnews24/Samakal/Independent Online Desk
The cabinet on Dec 21 afternoon approved the draft of "Domestic Worker Protection and Welfare Policy-2015". Bangladesh has cleared its first-ever policy for domestic workers, setting 14 years as the minimum age for employment.



The adoption of the Policy is a success for National Domestic Women Workers Union (NDWWU) and Domestic Workers Rights Network (DWRN).  DWRN was formed in 2006 December right after the new Labour Act adopted at that time which excludes domestic workers as workers. Since then, the 32 member organizations of DWRN including NDWWU, Trade Union Centres, NGOs, Human Rights groups and BILS the DWRN secretariat, have been working together hard towards the protection of domestic workers rights.

On 9 Jan 2008, DWRN submitted memorandum to the Ministry of Labour and Employment to account domestic workers in the Labour Act 2006. They were able to push the Ministry to adopt the decision to formulate Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy. DWRN drafted the Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy 2010.  Since then, non-stop meetings, workshops, seminars, rallies, human chains, petitions were organized by DWRN to demand for the approval of the policy and later on the ratification of C189.  

Major points of "Domestic Worker Protection and Welfare Policy-2015" are:

For domestic workersFor employers
  • Domestic work will be recognized as a profession.
  • Employer must ensure a full-time domestic workers' salaries and other allowances. Any clothing or other forms of support have to be excluded from the salary arrangement.
  • Domestic workers will be entitled to the benefits under the existing labour law, including time for rest and relaxation.
  •  Employer has to distribute work hours ensuring proper rest, sleep, entertainment and leaves.
  • Minimum age of domestic workers will be 14 for doing light works; those above 18 years will be eligible for heavy works.
  • In order to appoint someone 12 years of age, the employer must negotiate the terms with a legal guardian of the child, under the presence of a third party witness. The arrangement must include responsibilities, date of appointment, preoccupation, leaves and breaks, accommodation, diet and clothing allowance.
  • All domestic workers must entitle to a healthy and safe space for sleeping while they are off duty. In addition, they must have the scope for prayers according to their religion.  When in sickness, the domestic worker must be abstained from workload.
  • Employer will have to pay for all necessary treatments, according to the policy. The employer will be under the obligation to compensate for any accidents, including treatment expenses.
  • Female domestic workers will get 4 months of maternity leave.
  • Employer can now terminate the contract and take legal action if the domestic worker causes harassment, physical or mental violence on children, ill or old people of the employer’s family.
  • Government will introduce a 'helpline' for the domestic workers while there will be also an awareness campaign.

Photo (screen capture):

As the policy is approved, around 2.0 million domestic workers will get all facilities under the Labour Law- 2006 across the country.

Any kind of indecent behaviour, physical, sexual or mental torture will be prohibited strictly from now on. The government will take full responsibility for any cases filed over harassment and/or violence, and the perpetrators will be brought to justice. The Cabinet Secretary said the provisions of punishment under the existing laws, including penal code and Women and Child Repression Prevention Act, will be applicable and the government will ensure it. 



Story Type: News

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