Position Paper on Homebased Workers Provincial Policy Sindh

The civil society demands the Sindh government for speedy approval of provincial home-based workers (HBWs) policy. The cabinet committee formed to finalize the social protection framework for the HBWs needs to speed up the process for announcement of the HBW policy on International Women`s day.

The term home-based workers are 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.

We demand the Recognition of rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining by Recognizing and supporting strong and vibrant member-based organizations and networks of home-based workers (as per ILO Convention 87); ensuring HBWs participation and voice in the formulation of policies and in monitoring and implementation; Promoting collective bargaining and formal collective agreements with employers and/or with governments (as per ILO Convention 98).

We Understand that for the two basic categories of home-based workers: those who are self-employed and those who are sub-contracted piece rate workers (called homeworkers). Both categories are impacted by irregular or cancelled work orders and wages, an unreliable supply of raw materials, delayed payments and rejected goods.

We know that the majority of home-based workers are women, and their economic activities contribute significantly to their family income security and to provincial and national economies. For this and other reasons, home-based workers should be prioritised within poverty reduction and women`s empowerment initiatives and programmes of the provincial and national and governments. Thus we demand formulation of effective provincial and national policies on home-based workers ensuring adequate budget allocations; ensuring minimum wages, fair piece-rates and annual bonuses for home workers; skill development and appropriate literacy programmes; Social protection, including occupational health and safety; and Access to credit and livelihood development programmes.

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. 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 not incorporated into national data collection systems or into development agendas and programs and, thus, their contribution remains invisible and unrecognized.

Sindh government should proactively approve and adopt the HBW policy and legislation, which has been finalized and awaiting approval of the Cabinet. Homebased Worker issue is a labour issue and all the trade unions also demand the approval of the HBWs policy that can need social protection and coverage and government must bring them under social protection framework.

The Sindh government should immediately announce the provincial policy for the home-based workers. In the labour laws, home-based workers should be recognized by giving them due legal protection and the right of collective bargaining. The home-based workers should be registered with EOBI, Sindh employees` social security institution, workers welfare board and government-run social security departments etc.

HBWs should have recognition of rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining as per ILO Convention 87. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure HBWs participation and voice in the formulation of policies and in monitoring and implementation.

Civil Society Organization/NGO`s/Media must defend their roles & enhance their responsibilities` to build pressure on government about the issues/problems and suggest them concrete solutions & way forward to include more women in Country`s socio-economic development.

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