Thursday April 18, 2024

Sindh approves Covid-19 Relief Ord: Sindh not to allow workers’ layoffs

By Agencies
April 28, 2020

KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet has approved the provincial government's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Ordinance, 2020, a spokesperson confirmed on Monday.

According to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Ordinance, 2020, there will be a 20 percent reduction in school fee. No employee will be fired from their job, it adds, but allowed some deductions for the employers' benefit. The Ordinance mandates that the salaries of those employed in the private sector are paid. Income slabs would be notified as well under the new legislation. According to Schedule 2, some relief was provided in electricity bills as well as a significant one on the monthly water bills for residential areas.

The ordinance also provides for discounts on gas consumption and house rent.

According to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah's spokesperson, Additional Chief Secretary to Sindh Home Department Dr Muhammad Usman Chachar and all other commissioners were given the authority of a magistrate.

As many as 5,000 shopkeepers and traders have filled in forms to be submitted to the authorities today for the resumption of businesses under the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the Sindh Home Department last week.

The provincial government has given conditional permission to start online businesses from Monday to Thursday between 09am to 03pm as the lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus continues to remain in effect.

Businesses, foremost are required to pledge they will "undertake to conduct business fully on-line/on phone", said a five-page notification released by the home department.

They must then "give such undertaking before opening their business and shall be applicable to all persons engaged in such business including owners, proprietor, as well as their staff/workers, delivery persons etc".

Businesses are allowed to operate from 9am to 3pm with their shutters down. No customer is allowed to enter the shop premises.

Before they start online operations, they are required to give detailed briefings on the COVID-19 spread, preventive steps to be taken against the spread, and the signs and symptoms of the disease to look out for.

Workplaces must put up instructions with text as well as pictorial descriptions of guidelines to follow in all commonly understood languages such as English, Urdu and Sindhi.

It is the owner's responsibility to ensure all employees follow the set safety protocols, said the notice, adding that the provision of protective gear must also be ensured by the owner.

Among the SOPs issued — besides safety precautions such as no handshakes and frequent handwashing — is the maintenance of a "daily log of medical history" of all employees.

Thermal guns have to be used at all workplaces to scan for fever. Workers displaying symptoms of the virus must not be allowed.

In the unfortunate instance an employee contracts the virus, the employer must bear responsibility and all expenses for the treatment.