Nepal | May 24, 2020

Labourer-friendly bill registered at Parliament Secretariat

Prakash Acharya
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Kathmandu, February 14

Ministry of Labour and Employment today registered a bill at the Legislature-Parliament Secretariat to amend existing labour related laws and make the provisions of the proposed bill more labour-friendly.

The bill proposes more rights for the labourers and ensures provisions of compensation if a labourer faces any personal or physical damage or injury, or dies, during the course of work.

In the absence of clear provision for this, many labourers, such as construction workers, are compelled to undertake risky jobs without compensatory provisions.

“The proposed bill is more labour-friendly, as it secures all fundamental rights of a labourer, although it may be a matter of concern for employers or entrepreneurs,” said spokesperson for the ministry and Joint Secretary Govinda Mani Bhurtel.

The new law will, however, not be applicable to government services, including civil service, Nepali Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department, as they are governed by separate laws.

Job security of an employee and other basic facilities, including basic salary, yearly salary increment, leave, gratuity and provident fund, are ensured in the bill. Employers should ensure the security of employees and healthy working conditions.

The bill puts employees in four categories: regular employment, work specific employment for specific work, short-term employment for a maximum of seven days and part-time employment (less than 35 hours in a week).

A labourer, who works more than eight hours a day, will get 1.5 per cent more wages for every hour of overtime, as per the bill.

Employer cannot delay wages by more than one month at the most. Every labourer will get all basic leaves, including weekly leave, casual leave, sick leave, festival leave, mourning leave, public holidays, home leave, compensatory leave and maternity leave.

The leave system will apply to domestic labourers, as well.

An employer should ensure treatment insurance of at least Rs 1 lakh on annual basis and accident insurance of at least Rs 5 lakhs for each labourer, as per the proposed provision.

A labourer can stop work any time if it presents risk to his/her health or causes physical injury, states the bill. Pregnant labourers should be given work that does not affect her health in general.

Facilities, such as temporary residence and drinking water, should be ensured for construction labourers.

The bill adds that long route transporters must provision two drivers.

A Wages Fixation Committee, comprising representatives of the government, labour unions and representatives of employers, should review wages every two years in Baisakh (mid-April to mid-May) and should apply from the first day of every Nepali new year.

The basic salary of a labourer should be Rs 9,700 a month as fixed by the government.

Employees can put forth their common demands to employers, who should address them through talks, and the government can form a tribunal if the dispute cannot be settled by employers and employees, as per the proposed provision.

Employees can resort to strike, sit-in, meeting and even padlock the office for their common cause; labour court should look into disputes between employers and employees and settle them, adds the bill.

A version of this article appears in print on February 15, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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