KARACHI - Delay in formulation of rules of the Sindh Home-based Workers Act 2018 is depriving millions of home-based workers of Sindh of their due benefits and perks under the Act, as the law could not be practically implemented without formulation of the rules, said speakers of consultative meeting here Friday. The meeting entitled SHBWs Act and way forward for its implementation was held by Home-based Women Workers Federation (HBBWF) Pakistan at a local hotel.

Zahra Akbar Khan, General Secretary HBWWF, said that they are grateful to the Sindh Assembly for passing the landmark Sindh Home-based Workers Act 2018, which a pioneer law on this subject in whole Pakistan. She said besides her federation, other stakeholders including labour federations, trade unions, rights bodies and civil society played a vital role for drafting of the bill and lawmakers of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) in Sindh assembly, particularly Saeed Ghani and Syed Nasir Hussain Shah played a heroic role to get passed the law from the Sindh Assembly. 

She regretted that despite passing of so many months the rules of this Act are yet to be formulated. She said the home-based workers of Sindh so far have not gotten any benefit under the Act, as without the formulation of the rules the Act could not be practically implemented.

Nasir Mansoor, deputy general secretary National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) said the objective of this consultative meeting is to find a way forward for getting the law implemented. He said so many laws are passed in our country but a few of them practically implemented. He said after the formulation of the rules the process of registration of home-based workers, collection of their contributions from the workers and employers and giving the workers their full benefits would start.

Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research director Karamat Ali said that a provincial council, comprising all stakeholders, should be made under the law so that the information of the home based workers across the province be collected at the administrative level. He said that similar committees be made at the district and taluqa levels to collect the data. Farhat Parveen of Now Communities also said that the process was needed to start registration of the HBWs workers.

Peoples Labour Bureau leader Habibuddin Junaidi said that meetings with heads of Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution, Sindh Employees Social Security Institution and Workers Welfare Fund be done by the end of September to share suggestions on making the registration process of home based workers smooth. He also stressed on making amendments in the SESSI law to remove the problems faced by workers.

It was decided to make a 12-member committee to review the lunanus of the law by studying the proposed bill and the Act passed by the assembly. This committee would also see how the Act would be make purposeful by suggesting amendments in the other related laws like Sessi and EOBI laws.

The committee would draft the proposed amendments and then call on the chief minister to request his assistance for introducing the amendments in the related laws.

Those who spoke at the meeting included NTUF Sindh general secretary, Riaz Abbasi, Home Based Garments Union general secretary Saira Feroz, Sindh Minimum Wage Board secretary Shaheen Nisar, Now Communities’ Farhat Parveen and others.