Employment law in Bangladesh is governed by the Labour Act, 2006 (“Act”) and the Labour Rules, 2015 (“Rules”). The Act and Rules applies to workers (labourers) who are employed in commercial enterprises and industrial undertakings. The Act and Rules prescribe the working hours, weekly holidays, annual leave, medical leave. It also provides for gratuity payments, provident funds and participation in the profits of the company.
With support from the ILO, the tripartite Wages Board has done a reasonable job, visiting two countries with large garment sectors to learn how they manage minimum wages: Cambodia and Vietnam (which has itself just moved from determining the minimum wage by government decree to a tripartite board). It is important that the process should now be institutionalised, as in the UK, so that increases are recommended every year.
The minimum wage (MW) in the Bangladesh garment industry is not a single figure, as in the UK, but stepped with a different minimum rate for different grades. The MW for a helper is less than the MW for a cutter, and so on. The lowest rate has been set at $68 a month, while workers were demanding $100 a month.