Saturday, 22 November 2014

Domestic Workers (Employment Rights) Bill, 2013 with Proposed Amendments

An Act to protect the rights of the domestic workers, to govern and regulate the
employment and conditions of service between employers and domestic workers and to
provide social security, safety, health facility and welfare to domestic workers.
WHEREAS it is expedient to recognize the domestic workers; to provide free, to provide free
and impartial justice to domestic workers;to protect the rights of the domestic workers such
as freedom of speech, freedom of association, health, indemnity, freedom, action, respect,
fair and dignified treatment etc.; to regulate the employment and conditions of service of
the workers such as holidays, accommodation, safe environment, settlement of-dispute,
actual working hours, nature of work, minimum wages, leaves etc.; to provide them social
security, safety, health and welfare and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto;
It is hereby enacted as follows:-
1. Short title, extent and commencement.- (1) This Act may be called the
Domestic Workers (Employment Rights) Act, 2015.
(2) It extends to the Islamabad Capital Territory.
(3) It shall come into force at once on 14th August 2015.
2. Definitions.- In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or
(a) "Government" means the Federal Government;
(b) "Beneficiary" means a worker eligible to receive benefits under the
Domestic Workers Welfare Fund;
(c) "Board" means Domestic Workers Board;
(d) "Domestic Work" means in relation to a household any work which takes
place within the premises of the household and includes childcare or old
age care or sick care and delivery care;
(e) "Domestic Worker" means a person engaged in domestic work directly or
through an agency or contractor whether exclusively for one employer or
in a group or otherwise for one or more employers by staying at the
household premises or otherwise includes migrant or piece-rate worker;
(f) "Dispute" means any dispute or difference between employers and
employers, or between employers and workers or between workers which
is connected with the employment or non-employment of the terms of
employment or with the conditions of labour of workers;
(g) “Full Time Domestic Worker” means a person working full time for one employer only
and residing at his/her provided accomodation.
(h) “Part Time Domestic Worker” means a person working for one or more than one
employer for one or more than one work/task.
(i) "Employer" means,-
(i) in relation to a person or group of persons employing worker(s)
such person or group of persons generally or collectively
responsible for employment of workers;
(ii) in relation to an establishment or agency the owner(s) of the
establishment or agency or a person(s) who has the ultimate
control over the affairs of the establishment or the agency as well
as any other person to whom affairs of such establishment or
agency are entrusted whether such person(s) is called an agent, a
manager, an occupier or by any other name;
(iii) in relation to a household or family the head(s) of the household or
the family who as an individual or group of individuals severally or
collectively responsible for the employment of workers;
(iv) in relation to the work carried on by or through a contractor or by
the employment of worker(s) supplied by a contractor, the
(h) "Family" in relation to that of a worker means and includes the spouse,
children below the age of 18 years, fifty per-cent or more disabled
children above the age of 18, and the dependant parents; and
(i) "Fund" means Domestic Workers Welfare Fund.
3. Effect of law and agreements inconsistent with this Act.- The provisions
of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therein contained in
any other law for the time being in force or in any contract or instrument having effect
by virtue of any law other than this Act or any other decree or order of any court,
tribunal or authority or under any settlement.
4. Rights and privileges under more beneficial other laws not affected.-
Nothing contained in this Act shall affect the operation of any corresponding law,
contract, custom, usage, award, settlement or agreement, regulating the employment and
conditions of service of the workers and providing for welfare measures or schemes which
are more beneficial to the workers than those provided for them by or under this Act.
5. Rights and Entitlements.- All domestic workers shall have the following
Rights and Entitlements:-
(a) The right to work/employment. Whereby the age requirement for
employment shall be 14 years of age or above and not more than
60 years for men and women;
(b) Workers shall have freedom of work and shall not be employed in
employments such as forced/bonded labour, child labour and manual
scavenging and in any manner inconsistent with the contract;
(c) No worker shall be discriminated in recruitment, continuance of
employment deciding wages, benefits and other rights on grounds of
religion, race, caste, creed, sex and place of birth/residence/domicile or
any other reason;
(d) Every worker shall enter into a written contract with his employer in
regard to the terms and conditions of the employment.A copy of the same shall be provided
to the domestic workers welfare board.
(e) The employment contract shall include specific terms and conditions
related to matters such as hours of work, specific nature of work, wages,
leave, food and accommodation, suspension, termination, disciplinary
proceedings, dispute settlement and healthcare/welfare measures within
the scope of the employment;
(f) The workers shall be addressed as "domestic worker”, not "servant";
(g) The right to minimum wages in accordance with the prevailing laws of
the country for full time domestic workers.
(h) The worker shall be made special payments for overtime work, night
work and works of specified risks. Any such kind of work shall be done only in mutual
consent of both parties.
(i) The worker shall have the right to bargain for festival allowance;
(j) The worker shall have predefined working hours;
(k) The nature of job and duties expected of the worker are to be specifically
predefined. No extra work may be assigned to the worker without free
will of the worker and extra remuneration;
(l) The employer's duty to provide dignified working conditions and
occupational and other safety measures;
(m) The social security measure for domestic worker shall include Health and
medical care, employment injury benefits, maternity benefits, group
insurance, housing, gratuity, bonus and pension benefits; and
(n) The right to form an association or union of workers for collective
bargaining through tripartite mechanism or otherwise.
6. Employment contract.- No worker shall enter into employment without a
written contract with the employer, which shall include specific terms and conditions
related to matters such as hours of work, specific nature of work, wages, leave, food
and accommodation, suspension, termination, disciplinary proceedings, dispute
settlement and healthcare/welfare measures within the scope of the employment. A copy
of employment agreement shall be furnished in the office of Domestic Workers Welfare
7. Nature of work.- No worker shall be required to perform any work other than
what is specifically mentioned in the employment contract, unless the worker at free
will agrees to perform such work for any such extra remuneration as may be agreed
between the worker and the employer.
8. Working hours.- No worker shall be required to work for more than eight
hours in a day with one hour break, provided that, if the worker stays with the family
or at place of work, the worker at free will may work overtime for such time duration
and for such remuneration as may be prescribed.
9. Minimum wage.- (1) Full Time Domestic worker shall be paid such wages within such
time as may be prescribed in the employment contract, but such wages shall in no case be
less than the wages fixed under the Minimum Wage Ordinance 1961.
(2) Part Time Domestic Worker may be paid wages:-
a. On hourly bases
When a domestic worker is hired for hourly bases, he/she shall not be paid less than 200
Rupees per hour.
b. On task bases
When a domestic worker is hired for any task such as a sweeper, dish washer, laundry
cleaner etc. he/she shall not be paid less than 1000 rupees per month for each task.(3) No
employer shall pay to worker, remuneration, whether payable in cash or in kind, at rates
less favourable than those at which remuneration is paid by him/her to the workers of the
opposite sex performing same work or work of a similar
10. Leaves.- Every worker shall be entitled to Holidays or compensatory off,
annual leave, casual leave, sick leaves and maternity leaves in accordance with law and
other leaves as may be sanctioned by the Government from time to time.
11. Maternity benefit.- A female worker shall be entitled to maternity benefits
with a minimum amount equivalent to three months salary upto two children.
12. Other benefits.- Every worker shall be entitled to Health and medical care,
employment injury benefits, group insurance, housing, gratuity, bonus and pension benefits,
which shall be paid through the Domestic Workers Welfare Fund under the supervision of
the Domestic Welfare Board.
13. Compensation for Injury.- If a personal injury is caused to a worker by
accident arising out of and in course of his/her employment, the employer shall be
liable for payment of compensation amount.
14. Food and Accommodation.- It shall be the responsibly of the employer to
provide for the food and accommodation of the full time domestic worker, with or without
family, unless
such right is expressly waived off by the worker.
15. Facilities.- It shall be the duty of the appropriate Government to ensure,-
(a) regular employment to the domestic workers;
(b) regular and timely payment of wages;
(c) suitable, conducive and dignified working conditions;
(d) provision for prescribed medical facilities and also maternity facilities by
the employer;
(e) provision for protective clothing as may be prescribed;
(f) that the worker is not tortured or physically or sexually exploited by the
employer or any of the employer's family members; and
(g) provision of such other facilities as may be prescribed from time to time.
(h) to recognize and register domestic workers with the domestic workers board.
16. Notice of termination.- No worker may be removed from employment
without at least one month's prior notice to the worker by the employer. A copy of same
notice shall be sent to the Domestic Workers Welfare Board by the employer.
17. Certain contracts and agreements to be void.- Any contract or agreement, whether
made before or after commencement of this Act, whereby a worker relinquishes any right
conferred by or any privilege or concession accruing to him or her under this Act or any
scheme, shall be void and of no effect in so far as it purports to deprive him or her of such
right or privilege or concession.
18. Constitution of the board.- (1) The Government, for the purposes of this
Act, shall constitute a Board to be called "the Domestic Workers Board".
(2) The Board shall consist of,–
(a) A Chairperson to be appointed by the Government; and
(b) such number of members, as the Government may nominate, that
shall include association, Union or persons espousing the cause of
domestic workers, individuals having expertise in issues relating to
labour matters, women and child issues, law and any other
interests which in the opinion of the Government, ought to be
(3) The number of persons to be appointed as members from the categories
specified in sub-section (2), the term of office and other conditions of service of, the
procedure to be followed in the discharge of their functions and the manner of filing up of
vacancies shall be such as prescribed by the Government.
19. Functions of the Board.- The Board shall perform the following functions:-
(a) to formulate policy matters relating to employment conditions of the
service, social security, safety and welfare of workers;
(b) to formulate schemes and review their implementation and make the
changes required from time to time in such schemes in consultation with
the Government;
(c) to review and monitor implementation of the Act and rules made their
under and recommend to the Government of any changes in the said Act;
(d) to create public awareness about the rights of works and schemes
available for the workers;
(e) to collect statistics and information of agencies who supply/provide
workers for domestic works or services;
(f) to guide workers in respect of social security, safety and welfare activities
undertaken by the Board, and non-governmental organizations or associations; and
(g) to register domestic workers with the board.
(h) to insure domestic workers against inevitable accidents.
(i) to ensure a monthly pension to domestic workers that reach the age of 60 years.
(j) to make sure that no minor domestic worker works under the age of 14 years.
(k) to ensure free education to children of domestic workers in Government schools as
promised in Article 25-A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.
(l) to ensure that the employer doesn’t carry undue influence on the domestic worker at the
time of signing of contract.
(m) to ensure that the employer doesn’t usurp the salary of domestic worker in any case.
(n) to ensure that a sick domestic worker shall not be forced to work.
(o) to keep and maintain the records of domestic workers and employers working together
under various contracts.
(o) any other matter as may be prescribed by the Government.
20. Registration of workers.- The Board shall register all domestic workers within next three
years. . Every worker shall be provided by the Board with a security number and identity
card to be renewable after every three years. None
of the workers is eligible to get more than one security number. For the purposes of
registration, the board may hire services of any agency or non-governmental organization
already working for the welfare of domestic workers.
21. Registration of employer.- Every Agency or contractor or Trust or NGO or
Association or union by whatever name called, which supply domestic workers, in order to
benefit from this Act, shall make an application to the Board for registration under the
provision of this Act. .
Every application that gets registered shall be provided with a registration number.
All employers registered under this section are required to have an office within Islamabad.
A copy of office rent deed or ownership documents shall also be furnished along with
application. The employers shall also furnish copies of their registration documents along
with application to the board.
Employers that get registered under this section shall enter into contracts with domestic
workers so hired by it and the copies of same shall be furnished with the Board.
If the domestic workers wishes to form a union under this act, they can independently move
an application for union registration under this section. A domestic workers union shall have
atleast five office bearers.
An individual employer is not required to get registered with the board under this section.
22. Constitution of the fund.- To provide safety, social security and welfare to
domestic workers, the Government shall constitute a Fund to be called ”the Domestic
Workers Welfare Fund" and these shall be credited thereto,-
(a) all grants and loans made to the Board by the Government;
(b) all sums received by the Board from other sources as may be decoded
upon by the Government; and
(c) contributions by the employers and registered domestic workers in such
form and in such manner as may be prescribed.
23. Purpose of the Fund.- The fund shall be applied for meeting,–
(a) the salaries, allowances and other remunerations of the members,
officers and other employees of the Board;
(b) the cost of such welfare measures or facilities for the benefit of domestic
workers as may be decided by the Board which shall include Health and
medical care, employment injury benefits, maternity benefits, group
insurance, housing, gratuity, bonus and pension benefits;
(c) to sanction any money in aid of any scheme for the welfare of the
domestic workers including family welfare, family planning, education,
insurance and other welfare measures; and
(d) any other expenses of the Board in connection with the discharge of its
functions or for the purpose of this Act.
24. Contribution to the Fund.- Every worker and employer registered under the relevant
provisions of this Act shall make to the Fund, such contribution, as may be prescribed by the
25. Non-payment of the contribution.- Non-payment of the contribution by
(a) domestic worker for a continuous period threeyears shall
disqualify such worker from being the beneficiary of the Fund; and
(b) employer shall make such a person liable to pay such amount as arrears of land revenue.
26. Resolution of Dispute.- All disputes arising out of the provision of this Act
shall be resorted only by Dispute Resolution Committee and Appellate authority.
27. Dispute Resolution Committee.- The Dispute Resolution Committee may comprise of
Law Graduates with atleast 2 years experience as practicing lawyers. They shall exercise
powers equal to Civil Judges cum Judicial Megistrates. There shall be at least one person
deputed as a presiding officer of dispute resolution committee in every recognized
community of domestic workers in Islamabad.
27-A. Appellate Authority The appellate authority shall exercise powers equal to District
and Sessions Judge. The shall be atleast one person deputed as an appellate authority in
Islamabad. The eligibility and experience of such person shall be equal to the qualifications
of a District & Sessions judge. No appeal, revision or review shall lie against the decision of
an appellate authority.
28. Procedures and powers of the Committee and appellate authorities.-
(1) The Dispute Resolution Committee on its own motion or on the application of any party
can take cognizance of any matter involving the domestic workers. If an application is
received by Dispute Resolution Committee against employer or domestic worker, the
dispute shall be settled within one month of application. There shall not be more than 15
days time to file appeal. The appeal shall be decided by the appellate authority within one
(2) This Act shall have overriding effect over all laws and court procedures in the matters of
disputes of civil and criminal nature both pertaining to domestic workers.
(3) In case of any allegation or accusation on domestic workers so registered under this Act,
S.H.O. of concerned police station shall not have powers to investigate or interrogate any
domestic worker unless prior permission is taken from Dispute Resolution Committee.
(4) No FIR against a domestic worker is effective in case of any dispute between employer
and employee unless its lodged on the directions of dispute resolution committee or
appellate forum.
(5) In case of any offense committed by any domestic worker or employer during the course
of business, the trial may be conducted by Dispute Resolution Committee or Appellate
(2) The Dispute Resolution
Committee or appellate authority shall follow such procedure as may be deemed fit and
conforming to principles of natural justice.
(2) Every unit of Dispute Resolution Committee or appellate authorities shall
have same powers as are vested in civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure,1908 and
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898,
when adjudicating a dispute in respect of the following matters, namely:-
(a) enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
(b) compelling the production of documents and material objects;
(c) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses; and
(d) such other matters as may be prescribed.
Every enquiry or investigation by Dispute Resolution Committee shall be deemed to be a
judicial proceeding.
29. Bar of jurisdiction of civil, court of megistrate and labour courts.- No civil, court of
megistrate or labour court shall entertain the suit or application in respect of any matters
arising under this Act.
30. Contravention of provisions.- whoever contravenes the provisions of contracts signed in
line with this Act or of any rules made there under shall be punishable with imprisonment
for a term which may extend to three months or with a reasonable fine or both.
31. Cognizance of offences.- Every offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable,
upon receipt of a written complaint by the person aggrieved, only by a presiding officer of
Dispute Resolution Committee of the area concerned.
32. Rules.- The Government may make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act.
No accurate figures exist for the number of domestic workers employed in Pakistani
households, but the figure is certainly in the hundreds of thousands if not the millions.
Domestic work provides many Pakistanis with the opportunity to earn an honest living, but
the conditions under which these men and women work are highly variable. There is a need
to ensure that these domestic workers are provided at least a minimum level of benefits
and facilities. Furthermore there is a need to regulate their terms and conditions of
employment to ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity, while ensuring that
excessive regulation does not create an impediment to the hiring of such workers. The
present Bill is being moved in pursuance of these objectives.
This amended version of the bill is made after a long struggle and study of versions of
domestic workers, social activists, employers and other stake holders. It is made for the
pupose of amending the bill so that no lacuna remains in the Act once its passed. For any
queries or suggessions feel free to write at
Salman Yousaf Khan (Golra)
Advocate High Court
Ex-Candidate MNA, NA-48, Islamabad

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