The Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of the ‘Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy, 2015′ recognising their works as ‘Labour’, aiming to ensure their overall welfare.The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said the policy recognised works of the domestic helps, both male and female, as ‘labour’ ensuring their protection, welfare, rest, entertainment, leave alongside decent works and good working environment. Female workers will get 16 weeks’ maternity leave under the policy, he added.
Shafiul Alam said the policy has been framed in light of the Labour Law and the minimum age of the domestic workers under the policy will be 14 for doing light works. The domestic workers above 18 years will be eligible for heavy works, he said.
The Cabinet Secretary said the salaries of the domestic workers will be fixed upon mutual agreement between the employers and the domestic workers so that the domestic helps could not be subjected to any kind of oppression, indecent behaviour and physical and mental torture.
In case of physical and mental torture, 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.
He said the Workers Welfare Foundation will oversee ensuring of the facilities for domestic helps.
Besides, he said the government will introduce a ‘helpline’ for the domestic workers while there will be also an awareness campaign.
The Cabinet also gave the final approval to the draft of ‘The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Bill, 2015’, aiming to boost investment in the country and ensure efficient use of unused lands of the public sector industries.
The Cabinet Secretary said the draft proposal was placed at the meeting to form the authority merging the Board of Investment (BoI) and the Privatization Commission into Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA).
According to the draft law, all officials and employees working under the Board of Investment and the Privatisation Commission will be transferred to BIDA.
Besides, all the assets and liabilities of the two organizations will be owned by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.
About the structure of the new authority, the Cabinet Secretary said a 17-member governing board of the BIDA will be formed with the Prime Minister as its chairman and the Finance Minister as its vice chairman.
The ministers of the ministries concerned like Commerce, Industries, Power, Energy and Mineral Resources and Land will be members of the board, he said.
The Cabinet Secretary said there will also be a six-member Executive Committee headed by an Executive Chairman to be appointed by the government. He will also be a member of its governing board while the government will also appoint five more members of the committee.
The Cabinet also approved in principle the draft of the ‘Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Bill 2015′ and a proposal to pay the amount of Capital Subscription.
Under the draft law, the Cabinet Secretary said, Bangladesh will have to pay $ 132 million over the next 10 years as capital subscription on installment basis to the bank authority.
The Cabinet also gave its final approval to the draft of ‘The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation Bill, 2015′ translating the original law of 1957 into Bangla.
Ministers and State Ministers attended the meeting. Secretaries concerned were present.