TAKING advantage of the powers vested in it by virtue of the 18th Amendment, the Sindh government has lost no time in framing labour laws to appease the labour leadership.
The government did so without realising that the managements of industrial and commercial establishments are facing issues of low productivity and rampant absenteeism. Instead of helping the employers in improving their employees’ output and checking absenteeism, the Sindh government has come up with laws to promote absenteeism.
The amendments in labour laws carried out by the Sindh government after the devolution in April, 2010, lead one to this conclusion.
Under Section 79 (2) of the Sindh Factories Act, 2015, the entitlement of workers to sick leave has been increased from 16 days at half-average pay to 16 days at full pay in a year i.e. the quantum of leave has been doubled.
Previously an employer could take action against a worker for habitual absence without leave or absence without leave for more than ten days, which constitutes misconduct.
Now under Standing Order 21 (3) (v) of the Sindh Terms of Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 2015, a proviso has been added to the previous clause by which a delinquent worker can create difficulty for his employer to take action against him.
Under the Sindh Maternity Benefits Act, 2018, maternity leave has been increased from 12 weeks to 16 i.e. four weeks before and 12 weeks after delivery. The previous limit of 12 weeks leave was allowed under the West Pakistan Maternity Benefit Ordinance, 1958.
In addition to around 15 days public holidays in the country in a year, five days provincial holidays are allowed by the Sindh government. On these holidays, the factories are also notified to remain closed.
It is pertinent to mention that no such increase in the quantum of workers’ leave mentioned above has taken place in the other provinces.
Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2018