Employment Injury Protection and Rehabilitation Scheme for Workers in the Garment and Leather Industries
Title: Employment Injury Protection and Rehabilitation Scheme for Workers in the Garment and Leather Industries
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Labour and Employment
Overall term: 2017 to 2019 (tentative)
Tragic events, such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in April 2013 or the factory fire at Tazreen Fashions in November 2012, have directed international attention to the precarious working conditions in Bangladesh’s textiles sector.
Day in, day out, the people who work in the garment and leather sectors are exposed to a wide range of health and safety risks that impact on their well-being and employability. The number of workplace injuries and occupational diseases in Bangladesh cannot be quantified exactly due to a lack of reliable statistics. There are however only a few instances of mandatory reporting on workplace accidents and occupational diseases.
Revised in 2013, the Bangladesh Labour Act did a lot to improve trade union representation and workplace safety. However, comprehensive social protection for employees has not yet been achieved. In the export-oriented industries (textiles, clothing and leather industries) especially, several measures have been rolled out to improve workplace safety (prevention).
Compensation after an accident at the workplace or in the event of an occupational disease still depends on whether the employer is deemed liable under civil law. The injured parties, however, have virtually no chance of asserting their claims. Before any compensation is paid out, the question of fault has to be resolved – a process that often hampers timely payouts to the people affected.
All in all, employees are not adequately protected against workplace accidents. The basic approaches currently in existence are fragmented, inefficient and their implementation is not sufficiently monitored. The Ministry of Labour and Employment plans to develop these approaches and merge them into a comprehensive statutory employment injury protection and rehabilitation scheme. However, the launch of a statutory one-stop scheme that includes prevention, rehabilitation and compensation, cannot go ahead as yet, as the necessary legal and institutional foundations are still not in place.
The partners harness the new legislation, structures and processes to introduce a statutory employment injury protection and rehabilitation scheme.
The project aims to prepare a statutory occupational accident insurance scheme in Bangladesh and to assist its partners with the development of an invoicing system and the administrative structures and processes required for this purpose. To achieve its objectives, the project seeks to cooperate closely with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and to align its activities with ILO-driven support for a national employment injury protection and rehabilitation scheme. Finally, the project also seeks to collaborate with an established social insurance organisation in a bid to set up a corresponding insurance agency.