Govt asked to approve HBW policy

KARACHI: The civil society demanded of Sindh government to ensure speedy approval of Provincial Home Based Workers (HBWs) policy. The cabinet committee formed to finalize the social protection framework for the HBWs needs to accelerate the process for announcement of the HBW policy on International Women’s day 8 March 2015.

This was demanded by the CSO representatives addressing a joint press conference at Karachi Press Club on Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion Ms. Ume Laila Azhar, a representative of HomeNet Pakistan said the term home-based worker is used to refer to workers who carry out remunerated work within their homes or the surrounding grounds. Home based workers being the significant proportion of the workforce are denied the basic rights. The International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Home Work Convention, 1996 (No. 177); the Kathmandu Declaration of 2000; and the South Asian Regional Plan of Action for Home-based Workers, 2007, ask the identification and recognition of home-based workers, the mainstreaming of home-based workers into national economies, the formulation of national policies for home-based workers, the integration of home-based workers into national and regional markets; and sought to raise their visibility, voice and concerns.

Sindh government should proactively approve and adopt the HBW policy and legislation, which are under consideration.

Ms Azhar demanded that HBWs should come under the social protection mechanism and that the provincial government, keeping in view the equity, should devise a strategy for bringing the women HBWs under the protection mechanism.

He said despite the ILO Convention 177 on Home Work (1996), the Kathmandu Declaration (2000) and various other agreements, a majority of HBWs remain unidentified, invisible, unrecognized, discriminated against, voiceless and denied rights as workers in Pakistan. Home-based work is an important source of employment, especially for economically and socially disadvantaged women. The majority of home-based workers are women (about 75 percent in Pakistan).

Representative of PILER Karamat Ali said that home-based work is a global phenomenon, found in countries rich and poor, and exists in all sectors of employment, including manufacturing, services and agro-based and food sectors.

He said HBWs contribute significantly to the national and global economies and are linked to the formal economy through value chains and supply chains and local markets. They are generally incorporated into national data collection systems or into development agendas and programmes and, thus, their contribution remains invisible and unrecognized.

He demanded that Government of Sindh very proactively finalized the HBW Policy and draft legislation but the delay in the approval of the policy and its adoption is creating uneasiness and grave questions. The sitting government stance of being pro-poor had vowed many times for bringing the informal sector into regulation and protection; stand in vain.

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