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April 10, 2020

Sindh govt’s likely ordinance to bar employers from firing employees during lockdown period

Karachi

April 10, 2020

The Sindh government has prepared the draft of an ordinance to formally offer institutional concessions and facilities to people in the province in view of their economic hardships and sufferings due to the COVID-19 lockdown in place.

The proposed ordinance in question, the draft of which is available with The News, will be called the ‘Sindh COVID-19 Emergency Relief Ordinance-2019’ and will come into effect from April 1. It will be applicable in the entire province.

The ordinance will make it binding on the private educational institutions to give 20 per cent concession in tuition fees to their students.

The ordinance will also make it lawfully binding upon the employers in the province not to lay off or terminate the services of any of their employees during the shutdown of their business units due to the lockdown. While the employees are not able to attend their workplace due to the lockdown, they will be considered as being on paid leave. The draft ordinance ensures payment of salaries to such employees who would remain on paid leave during the closure of their offices.

There is going to be no deduction in the salaries of the employees who draw monthly emolument of up to Rs50,000. Five per cent deductions will be allowed in the monthly salaries of employees lying in the range of Rs50,000 to Rs100,000.

There will be 7.5 per cent reduction in salaries if the amount of the monthly emolument is between Rs100,000 and Rs 150,000. Those who draw salaries up between Rs150,000 and Rs200,000 will face a deduction up to 10 per cent, while those drawing salaries up to Rs300,000 will have a pay cut of Rs12.5 per cent.

For those having salaries between Rs300,000 and Rs400,000, the employers can deduct 15 per cent of their salaries. For the next slab of salaries, which is up to Rs700,000, the deduction will be up to 17.5 per cent, whereas, the salaries will be reduced by 20 per cent if they exceed Rs700,000.

The draft reads: “The landlord shall defer or suspend the recovery of the rent of the premises of the payable amount as indicated in Schedule-III; provided that the same shall not apply in cases where the owner is the widow, differently abled person and senior citizen as defined in the Sindh Senior Citizen Act-2014.”

The Schedule-III of the ordinance says no monthly rent to be paid by the tenant for the prescribed period if the rent does not exceed Rs50,000. There will be 50 per cent suspension of the rent amount if it exceeds Rs 50,000 and is not more than Rs 100,000. There tenant will pay 100 per cent rent if the amount exceeds Rs100,000.

“The government may provide exemption in the provincial taxes, duties, fees, cess, levies, and charges in a manner as notified by the government,” reads the draft ordinance.

It also prescribes a fine up to Rs1 million or penalty of attachment of movable, immovable, perishable property or both to be levied on the person whosoever will contravene provisions of the ordinance.

The draft ordinance provides separate tables to give concessions to consumers of electricity, gas, and water utility services in the province in payment of bills, keeping in view their monthly consumption of such utility services.

The ordinance gives the definition of ‘prescribed period’ as being the period for taking measures for prevention, protection, and control of COVID-19 as notified by the provincial government from time to time.