The owners of many companies in Bangladesh's 42 various industrial, manufacturing and service sectors failed to provide their workers with festival bonuses for Eid-ul-Azha by yesterday, the stipulated deadline to disburse the annual allowance.
During a meeting last week, featuring government officials, union leaders and factory owners, it was decided that the Eid bonuses for workers of 42 different sectors would be disbursed by 27 July while at least 50 per cent their salaries for the month would be paid on 30 July.
The meeting also reached the consensus that employees should be urged to remain near their workplaces over the three-day Islamic celebration in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
"It is true that not all of the factories and companies could pay the bonus in a timely manner. However, the majority of them did keep to their commitments," said Fazlul Haque Montoo, president of Sramik Karmachari Okiya Parishad (SKOP), the country's top trade union.
Besides, there are many micro, small and medium-scale firms that are financially incapable of disbursing bonuses at the moment due to the coronavirus fallout, said Montoo, who was present at the meeting chaired by Begum Monnujan Sufian, the state minister for labour and employment.
Some of the remaining organisations could pay the bonuses within the next two or three days, he said.
Meanwhile, the progress of bonus disbursement in the garment sector seems adequate so far as about 74 per cent of the factories have released the fund in a timely manner.
Certain small-scale garment factories could face difficulty in disbursing festival bonuses as well as salaries as in previous years, said Sirajul Islam Rony, a former representative for employees on the minimum wage board for garment workers.
"We expect the remaining 26 per cent to pay the allowance within the next two to three days," said Khan Monirul Alam Shuvo, chairman of the PR Standing committee of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
The majority of the knitwear factories have disbursed bonuses in line with in mutual understanding between the workers and management, said Mohammad Hatem, vice president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
As of yesterday, there were no untoward incidents reported in regards to not paying bonuses.
"That indicates that the payment rate was high yesterday," Hatem told The Daily Star over the phone.
Shibnath Roy, inspector general of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), endorsed Hatem's comments.
His field level officers have been monitoring the progress of bonus payment.
"We have so far seen good progress in disbursements," Roy told The Daily Star without going into specifics on the percentage of bonus paid.
"However, it is our expectation that all management will complete disbursements within the next two or three days," Roy said, adding that by the end of the final day of Eid, only two to three small factories might have failed to pay bonuses, which is a yearly occurrence.