To regulate the wages and to safeguard the labor rights in Pakistan, the Senate Standing Committee on Interior has passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2017. Once the bill is sanctioned, the employers would then be required to pay their employees either through cheque or bank transfer. As a result, the employers would be legally barred to pay their employees in cash.
Any employer which has a workforce of more than 15 people shall be liable to pay workers through a proper banking system. Most of the employers, particularly in the construction business, pay their employees in cash. Subsequently, they escape the tax net by avoiding a formal payment procedure. Consequently, given the lack of any system, labor is also rendered incapable to challenge for its rights.
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Senator Muhammed Javed Abbasi moved the bill in a bid to regulate the wages law in the country. While briefing the Senate Committee on Friday, Abbasi said that an employee would be in a position to take a legal action (in case his rights are violated) if he is paid through a banking system. He also said that the most of private sector employers prefer paying their employees through cash to avoid leaving a trail.
Employers should also open employees’ bank accounts
The Committee Chairperson Senator Rehman Malik recommended that the employers should also open the bank accounts of their employees.
Speaking to the Senate Committee, he said:
“Opening a bank account is not an easy task for an ordinary labourer like those working at brick kilns. I propose that employers also be bound to arrange for opening bank accounts of their employees.”
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After taking the input from the chairman, the committee enacted the law with consensus. The draft will now be presented in the Senate. If the bill is sanctioned, it would be tabled before the National Assembly for their approval to pass the law.
At the outset, the proposed bill would be applicable at the federal level. However, Senator Rehman Malik has instructed the Law Division to propose same recommendation to all the provinces to implement similar kind of law.