Business and export-oriented enterprises including the readymade garment factories located in Bangladesh’s Export Processing Zones (EPZ) would have to contribute up to US $ 1,500 per month to workers’ welfare fund, a gazette notification re-issued by EPZ on Sunday underlined.
Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) will create the fund to be consist of subscriptions contributed by the enterprises for ensuring the welfare of economic zone workers.
The monthly subscription rate will be US $ 150 for workers ranging between 101 and 250, US $ 240 for workers between 251 and 500, US $ 300 for 501-1,000 workers, US $ 420 for 1,001-1,500 workers, US $ 480 for 1,501-2,000 workers, US $ 600 for 2,001-3,000 workers and US $ 850 for workers between 5,001 and 8,000 employed at a factory.
Further, an enterprise will have to contribute US $ 1,000 for 8,001-12,000 workers, US $ 1,200 for 12,001-17,000 workers and US $ 1,500 per month if the number of workers exceeds 17,001.
The main purpose is to avoid labour unrest and conflict in the economic zones as well as improving skills of workers and ensuring their accommodation, the notification further maintained.
The BEZA, the highest authority of Economic Zones, on December 4 issued the gazette notification for the first time on the policy titled Bangladesh Economic Zones (Workers Welfare Fund) Policy-2017 in this connection.
According to the policy, the fund will be spent mainly for paying the fees and allowances of arbitrators, conciliators and counsellors, implementing and management of dormitory scheme and skill development projects for workers.
The administrative cost for security management including setting up of a digital security system in economic zones will also be borne from the fund.
Workers, however, will not get any direct grant from the fund; though similar funds for export-oriented sectors have such provisions.
Central fund for the export-oriented readymade garment industry and other sectors formed as per the labour rules have provisions to provide grants to workers and their family members in case of death, permanent disability due to an accident at workplace or illness.