The Punjab is all set to be the first to recognize and give full legal protection to Home-Based Workers (HBWs) - the hidden, dainty and feminine hands, supporting as backbone of the economy of the biggest province - as its chief minister announces a comprehensive policy on the subject next week, paving way for legislation of Punjab Home-Based Workers Act, 2012.
The policy formulation required exhaustive consultation with the stake-holders including entrepreneurs, employers organizations, workers’ organizations, concerned provincial government departments vis-a-vis representatives of civil society organizations, local bodies and District Governments in the wake of devolution of federal subjects to provinces, the Director-General, Labour and Human Resource, Punjab Sheikh Humayun Mazhar disclosed.
The Punjab government, through legislation, shall recognize the HBWs as a special category of labour force and define it as “a person who works within the home boundaries, or in any other premises of his/her choice but excluding the premises of the employer’s or contractor’s workplace; who works at home for remuneration or monetary returns; who is self-employed or does piece-rate, own-account or contract work, which results in a product or services as specified by the employer/contractor.”
According to ILO estimates, about 12 million women including under-age girls all over Pakistan, are Home-Based Workers, contributing a share of $32 billion in the country’s economy of $160 billion, the News research shows. About 41.9 percent of the HBWs inhabit Punjab. In order to prepare Provincial Policy on Home-Based Workers, the Punjab government set up four groups for policy review, plan of action, law review and research, formed under different concerned departments. The departments of Labour and HR, Social Welfare and Industries have pooled in their recommendations and brief the chief minister.
Through a legislative act of Punjab Assembly, the rights of HBWs will be protected for “equal treatment/status” and their dependents will be entitled to all facilities in the event of sickness, maternity, employment, injury or death.” The HBWs contribution towards economy and settlement of any difference or dispute will have legal backing.