KARACHI - HomeNet Pakistan, home-based workers and civil society organisations of Sindh have welcomed the passage of Home Based Workers Act 2018.

Addressing a joint press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC), the labour rights activists termed it a historic day to celebrate and applaud Sindh government for passing the new law.

They also appreciated Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and provincial Law Minister Ziaul Hasan Lanjar and Labour minister Syed Nisar Hussain Shah’s initiative to bring a legislative protection framework for over 78,056 lack (0.748 million Urban and 1.9 million Rural) home base workers of Sindh who fall into the informal bracket of the economy.

“Sindh has become the first province to adopt this first-ever policy for home-based workers in Asia and now it superseded in adopting the landmark legislation for HBWs. It is indeed a step forward toward the recognition of the home based workers of the province. Sindh Labour and Human Resource department has been following it up since past few years,” said Ume Laila Azhar, Executive Director of HomeNet Pakistan.

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had previously announced and launched the landmark policy for home based workers, thus fulfilling the party’s commitment, providing work status acknowledging the contribution of home based workers.

Speaking on the occasion home-based workers said: “We have fought for this fundamental constitutional right to get the status of worker. Sindh government have finally given us the status of a worker by bringing an exclusive law for the HBWs.”

Karamat Ali, Executive Director of PILER said that “Home based workers being the significant proportion of the workforce was denied the basic rights. With the legislation now Sindh would be the first province to get the identification and recognition of home-based workers, and ensure mainstreaming of home-based workers into provincial economy under the Act. The Sindh government needs to be applauded for this action and for bringing the HBWs under social protection network.”

Mahnaz Rahman Resident Director of Aurat Foundation said that “HBWs have collectively showed their power and deserve applause for bringing their issues to the mainstream. Collectively they have survived and come a long way from invisibility to visibility. Pakistan has achieved milestone in policy formulation but it is very important to ensure practical implementation of law.”

The HBWs Act 2018 will formulate a Provincial Council based on the members as prescribed and will also notify district committees for ensuring the implementation of the law. As per the Law provisions, the Labour department will initiate the data collection within province and open registration  of the HBWs leading to their accessibility to the existing social security schemes. The HBWs would be registered as Workers. Rehana Yasmin, a representative of Home-based workers said after decade of long hard work and struggle, the policy of HBWs has been approved. “HBWs registration with the social protection mechanism should start immediately from Karachi and extending to other districts. The Sindh government has taken a good step” she said.

“Millions of HBWs were awaiting the approval of legislation for HBWs which would give them status of a worker,” said a HBW leader from Korangi Karachi. Representative of DC said that HBWs issue is a labour agenda, we demand the approval and safe passage for the HBWs law and call for immediate action as a large portion of women are workers too.

HBWs needs social protection, coverage, and government must bring them under social protection framework. Other organizations present were Home Net Pakistan Aurat Foundation, PILER, HBWWF, Women Development Organization, Hunar Ghar, Rana Liquat crafts Center, Pakistan Fisher folk, HRCP, PWC, NTUF were also present on the occasion.