ISLAMABAD, Oct 08 (APP): Pakistan needs to bring in requisite reforms in its industrial relations laws for improving working conditions of its labour, especially women for meeting international standards of “Basic Access to Decent Work” and implement recommendations by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) experts in this regard, said a Labour Rights Index (LRI) 2022, released by Centre for Labour Research Pakistan here Saturday.
The Labour Rights Index is one of the flagship products of the WageIndicator Foundation, a Dutch nonprofit organisation and the Centre for Labour Research (Pakistan) is its global labour law office in Pakistan based in Rawalpindi.
The 7th October was marked as World Day for Decent Work so the index comprising 135 countries including Pakistan was released late Friday which provided objective legal data on the labour market and ranked these countries by applying the “Basic Access to Decent Work”criteria .
It also proposes certain amendments in laws of different countries to meet standards of decent working conditions, said a news release of Centre for Labour Research here. The index evaluates countries along ten indicators -fair wages, decent work hours, employment security, family responsibilities, maternity at work, safe work, social security, fair treatment, child and forced labour, and trade unions.
These indicators (and 46 components) are derived from the Decent Work Agenda of the United Nations. Based on their scores, countries are graded on a six-point scale ranging from a “Total Lack of Decent Work” to“Decent Work”.
The Labour Rights Index (LRI) 2022 has found legal rights relating to freedom of association, family responsibility, and employment security to be the most violated.
Meanwhile, legal rights relating to child and forced labour, safe work, and decent working hours have been the most complied with. The legal data for Pakistan refers to the legislation applicable to Punjab while different rules may apply in other jurisdictions, necessitating a review of other sources.
Following this approach, Pakistan’ overall score is 51 out of 100. Pakistan is rated “Basic Access to Decent Work”, the second lowest rating category. The overall score for Pakistan is lower than the regional average observed across South Asia (64). Within the South Asia region, the highest score is observed for Nepal (72). Along with the other contextual indicators, it is relevant to note that Pakistan has one labour inspector for every 140,093 workers, said the news release.
The Labour Rights index said “Pakistan has received a perfect score for “Employment Security” but it has a zero score for the “Trade Union” and “Family Responsibilities” indicators”.
It said Pakistan may wish to amend industrial relations legislation, as per the recommendations of the ILO Committee of Experts (CEACR) to improve its scoring on Trade Union indicators. “Pakistan may wish to consider reforms in the following areas to improve working conditions for workers in the country: limiting maximum working hours inclusive of overtime to 56 hours per week, extending annual leave to at least three working weeks, raising maternity leave from 12 weeks to 14 weeks, allowing for paternity leave, parental leave, paid nursing breaks and the prohibition on dismissals during pregnancy.
Annual leave in Pakistan is still not three working weeks. The minimum age for employment (currently 15 years) also needs to be raised to the level of compulsory schooling age (16 years), said the LRI press release.

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