Bangladesh has a population of 168.1 million, which includes a large and inexpensive labor force of about 90 million. Of these, about 60 million work agricultural jobs (that is growing by 1% each year), and about 30 million work non-agricultural jobs (which are growing by six percent a year). All workers in Bangladesh need to follow federal labor laws dictating conditions of employment, working hours, salary, leave policies, and health laws.
Conditions of Employment
The 2006 Bangladesh Labor Act states that an establishment may make its own rules as long as it follows the regulations specified in the Act, and as long as they are run past the Chief Inspector. If no change is recommended within 90 days of the receipt, they may be considered accepted. However, if the Chief Minister disapproves the service rule, the aggrieved can file an appeal in the Court within 30 days. The Government has the right to review the appeal within 45 days and pass a final decision.
Initially, working hours in Bangladesh were enforced as a way to ensure a safe and healthy working environment so that no employee is overworked and has a good work-life balance. However, over the past century, working hour limits have been set to ensure maximum productivity and as a means to reduce unemployment.
The 2006 Labor Act of Bangladesh states daily and weekly working hour limits that each employer should follow. It also talks about overtime hours and the required compensation. According to the Act, each employee can work for 8-hours per day. Any shift exceeding 6-hours should be coupled with a 1-hour lunch break, and a 5-hour shift should have a 30-minutes lunch break.
Workers can complete up to 48-hours of work per week. In case of overtime, they can complete up to 10-hours per day and 60-hours per week. In the case of a night shift, each worker must be given a 24-hour break between each shift.
According to the Employee Rights and Labor Law in Bangladesh, each worker’s wage must be paid before the end of the seventh day after the last day when the wage is payable. This also applies if an employee has been terminated by retirement or by removal, dismissal, or retrenchment by the employer.
The Bangladeshi Law states that no children below the age of fourteen should be allowed to work in any factory. In case a child is above fourteen years of age, he will be allowed to work as a trainee or if he has received a certification of fitness and government permission that clearly states his capability to be exposed to a work environment,
It is important to note that not all labor laws in Bangladesh are enforced. For example, child labor is a common practice in Bangladesh, despite what the law states. It is common to find children as young as six- or seven-years-old working. In fact, according to a survey conducted in Bangladesh, it was found that 38% of child domestic workers were 11 to 13-years old, while 24% were 5 to 10-years old. These children work long hours, getting up before the other employees, and finishing work after them.
To learn more about employee rights in Bangladesh, click here