Senate panel approves domestic workers bill

Proposed law envisages improved working conditions for workers


APP September 15, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

The Senate Standing Committee unanimously approved the Islamabad Capital Territory Domestic Workers Bill, 2021 with substantive amendments on Tuesday.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights was held under the chair of Senator Walid Iqbal at the Parliament House.

The Islamabad Capital Territory Domestic Workers Bill, 2021 was discussed for the second consecutive day. The committee chairman termed the bill a "pioneer law" for the underprivileged. The bill will provide legal cover for regulating the employment of domestic workers in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and protecting their rights. It also envisages improved working conditions and terms of employment of domestic workers.

The proposed legislation contains provisions for their social protection and welfare, including working hours, minimum wages, the entitlement of leaves, safety and medical care etc. The minimum age of employment was amended from 16 to 18 years for hiring domestic workers.

During the clause by clause consideration of the cill, the committee pointed out some serious lacunas with regards to the working hours of domestic workers, compensation amount for extra work and complaint/redressal mechanism.

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The committee decided to provide a comprehensive for filing complaints under the proposed law.

Regarding the penalties for contravening the provisions of the bill, it was observed that the penalty of R10,000 is a meagre amount and shall be raised to Rs0.1 million.

Clause 36 of the bill was amended to provide that the rules under the law shall be made by the ministry within six months.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2021..

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