Working Women's Protection Bill tabled in Punjab Assembly -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Working Women’s Protection Bill tabled in Punjab Assembly

LAHORE: The In-House Working Women’s Protection Bill 2010 was introduced in the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday to protect the rights of women and female children serving as domestic workers across the province.

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid legislators Seemal Kamran and Amna Ulfat presented the bill in the House during the private members’ day.

The bill suggests the appointment of a registrar for the province, who qualifies to be appointed as a district judge, as well as a deputy registrar in each district of the province, an officer of BPS-18 in the Punjab Labour Department.

The establishment of a special wage commission for fixing the wages of female domestic workers as well as the establishment of labour courts under the provisions of the Industrial Relations Ordinance 2002 have also been suggested in the bill.

The bill also proposes the provision of free medical aid from dispensaries and hospitals established by the provincial social security institutions under the Provincial Employees Social Security Ordinance 1965, while maternity allowance from the fund at a government-determined rate and other maternity benefits are also included among the proposals.

Insurance: The representatives of the House have also suggested in the bill insurance of all registered domestic female workers in case of death or total disablement, as well as the establishment of a special grant in the name of “In-House Working Women’s Fund”.

The bill proposes that the wage commission should fix wages for different types of work of domestic workers after every year, considering the prevailing economic condition of the province, adding that different wages may be fixed for different areas, but they must be justified and should not be discriminatory.

Regarding payment of wages to domestic workers, the bill states, “Every owner shall be required to pay wages to female domestic workers on every weekend, or as the case may be, on monthly basis, and on failure of payment on every weekend or as the case may be, at the end of the month, the owner shall be liable to pay Rs 10 per day for every Rs 100 or a part thereof.”

Commenting on the issue of fixing minimum wages for domestic female workers, including underage children, by the proposed wage commission, members of opposition and treasury benches told Daily Times that the government had already fixed the minimum wages at Rs 7,000 per month, so the wage commission could not make any other decision in this regard.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Arifa Khalid said the In-House Working Women’s Protection Bill 2010 would support domestic workers, especially women who were facing economic problems due to deprivation of their fixed wages by house-owners. She said the government had fixed minimum wages at Rs 7,000 for the working class, so after the passage of the bill, domestic female workers, who were not registered at any level, would be secured.

PML-Q opposition member Chaudhry Sher Ali said the government had announced minimum wages at Rs 7,000 for the labour class, hence female domestic workers would come ‘on board’ through the tabled bill, which would hopefully be passed unanimously.

PPP’s Faiza Malik also endorsed the bill and said it would provide financial security to female domestic workers and children.

Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood Khan sent the bill to the House Standing Committee on Labour and Human Rights, which will now present its report to the House on August 15 for an open debate.
Source: Daily Times
Date:7/7/2010