Labour laws are crucial for the smooth functioning of the labour force of any society. These laws not only safeguard the rights of the working class but also ensures that everything stays within the legal boundaries.
In this blog, we will give you an outline of the basic labour laws and regulations of Pakistan. These laws will help you to gain an understanding of the labour framework in Pakistan and will aid you while dealing with labour.
What are Labour Laws?
Labour laws are a set of laws and regulations about the workforce and how they should be treated. The labour laws cater to all the needs of the labour including employment, remuneration, conditions of work, trade unions, and industrial relations.
Labour Rights in the Constitution
The constitution of Pakistan highlights the need for labour laws. Following are the articles that talk about the importance of labour laws in society.
- Article 11 of the Constitution prohibits all forms of slavery, forced labour, and child labour.
- Article 17 highlights the right to exercise the freedom of association and the right to form unions.
- Article 18 talks about the right of its citizens to enter upon any lawful profession or occupation and to conduct any lawful trade or business.
- Article 25 is about equality before the law and the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex alone.
- Article 37(e) makes provision for securing just and humane conditions of work, ensuring that children and women are not employed in vocations unsuited to their age or sex, and for maternity benefits for women in employment.
Labour Legislation in Pakistan
Pakistan’s labour laws date back to the Indo-Pakistan partition times. Since then, the laws have been continuously evolved and improved. With trial & error and years of experience, the laws have been refined a lot.
Today, the labour law of Pakistan takes into account socio-economic conditions, industrial development, population, labour force explosion, growth of trade unions, level of literacy, and social welfare.
Under the constitution, labour laws are a part and responsibility of both the Federal and Provincial Governments.
Contract of Employment
The Industrial and Commercial Employment Ordinance was made in 1968 to address the mutual relationship between employee and the employer and the nature of the contract between them.
The Ordinance applies to all industrial and commercial businesses in Pakistan that have 20+ employees.
Apart from these establishments, the non-formal workers including domestic servants, farmworkers, or casual labour engaged by contractors have somewhat broader laws because their labour contracts are usually unwritten and can be enforced through the courts based on oral evidence or past practice.
Every employer is entitled to provide a formal appointment letter at the time of employment of each worker. The contract should include major terms and conditions of employment, nature, and tenure of appointment, pay allowances, and other benefits, terms, and conditions of appointment.
Termination of Employment
According to the labour law of Pakistan, the employer cannot terminate any employee for any reason other than misconduct. After serving the employee with a termination notice, the employer has to give one month’s notice to the permanent employee.
If the employee wishes to leave before the notice period, he or she has to give one month’s wage as a penalty. One month’s wages are calculated based on the average wage earned during the last three months of service. Other categories of workers are not entitled to notice or pay instead of notice.
To keep oneself safe from the exercise of power, victimization, or unfair labour practices, the Labour Courts have been given powers to examine and intervene to find out whether there has been a violation of the principles of natural justice and whether any action by the employer was bonafide or unjust.
According to the Factories Act of, 1934 any employee who is above 18 years of age cannot be required or permitted to work in any establishment for 9 hours a day and 48 hours a week. Whereas, employees who are below 18 of age.
Similarly, no young person, under the age of 18, can be required or permitted to work for 7 hours a day and 42 hours a week.
In a seasonal business, a worker can work for no more than fifty hours in any week and no more than ten hours in any day. In Pakistan, during the time of Ramadan, reduced working hours should be introduced in establishments.
According to the Factories Act, 1934, anyone who has been working for at least 12 months in an establishment should be entitled to at least 14 holidays per annum.
If a worker fails in any one such period of twelve months to take the whole of the holidays allowed to him or her, any holidays not taken by him or her shall be added to the holidays allotted to him or her in the succeeding period of twelve months. Get to know places to visit when on vacations.
In addition to the 14 days of annual leave with pay, the Factories Act, 1934 provides that every worker is entitled to 10 days casual leave with full pay and further 16 days sick or medical leave on half-pay.
Under agreements made with the Collective Bargaining Agent, employees who proceed on pilgrimage i.e., Hajj, Umra, Ziarat, are granted special leave up to 60 days.
So, these are some of the main pointers of the labour laws of Pakistan. Being a responsible citizen of Pakistan, all of us need to have a clear and deep understanding of all the laws and regulations associated with the labour of Pakistan.
Give this blog a read and let us know about your views and opinions regarding the labour laws in Pakistan.
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