MR. Ahmed (pseudonym), started his career with one of the renowned real estate companies in the Dhaka. After 21 years of continuing service, the company terminated him from his service with immediate effect without any prior notice. Finding no other option Mr. Ahmed contacts with a lawyer to get his termination benefits and now his case in pending before the Labour Court, Dhaka. This is the common scenario of the employment sector of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has been an active Member State of the ILO since 1972 and to date, has ratified 35 ILO Conventions including seven of eight fundamental Conventions of the ILO. The Government has amended the Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 (the Act) in 2013 to make it more in line with the ILO conventions.
Still there are provisions in the Act against the right of the labour which creates enormous criticism. For instance, section 26 of the Act empowers the employer to terminate a worker at any time without showing any cause.
In the case of termination under section 26 of the Act, a permanent worker is entitled to some service benefits.
Section 26 of the Act provides a monthly rated worker is entitled to get four months basic salary. Every employer shall be liable to pay to workers employed by him all wages required to be paid under section 121 of the Act. Under section 123(2) of the Act all wages payable to a worker shall be paid before the expiry of the thirtieth working day following the day termination of their employment.
A worker is entitled to get maternity leave, weekly holiday, casual leave, sick leave and annual leave with full wages under sections 46, 103, 115, 116 and 117 of the Act, and according to section 11, the employer shall pay wages to the worker in lieu of the un-availed leave. As gratuity, a worker is entitled as termination benefit under section 2(10) the wages of at least 30 days for every completed year of their service exceeding 06 months or, the wages of 45 days for every completed year in case of service more than 10 years.
A worker, who is a member of any Provident Fund, under section 29, is entitled to get benefit from such Fund including the employer's contribution and, he shall not be deprived of such benefit due to termination
As per section 232, a worker is entitled to get in equal proportion of the profit of the company, and under section 242(3), if the service of a worker is terminated, , he shall be as per with a beneficiary who retires from the service of a company.
Under sections 30 and 123(2) all amounts including wages due to the worker shall be paid by the appointing authority within a maximum period of 30 working days following the date of cessation of employment.
Any worker, terminated from employment, and aggrieved by the termination, under section 33(1), should send their complaint in writing to their employer within 30 days of being informed of the cause of such complaint. The employer under section 33(2) of the Act shall communicate their decision to the worker within 30 days of receipt of the complaint, and the worker, if aggrieved with the decision; under section 33(3) within 30 days, may submit a complaint to the Labour Court.
If the wages of a worker is not paid or payment of their wages or gratuity payable or dues from the provident fund is delayed, the worker of in case of death any of their heirs or any legal representative may apply to the Labour Court under section 132(1) of the Act for recovery of wages or other dues.
In the case of deductions from wages or delay in payment of wages by the employer, the Labour Court under section 132(5) of the Act may also direct the employer or the person responsible for payment of wages to pay 25% of the wages as compensation to the applicant.
The writer is an Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh.