Civil society demands approval of home-based workers policy

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Civil society urged the Punjab government to approve Provincial Home Based Workers (HBWs) policy as the ‘Home-based Workers Day’ for South Asia is going to be observed on October 20.

The women empowerment Package 2012 included the home-based workers policy but till date Punjab government did not fulfil its commitment for protecting millions of home based workers in the province. “The Punjab chief minister must announce the pending HBWs policy to uplift the underprivileged home based workers of the province,” HomeNet Pakistan Executive Director Ume-Laila Azhar said.

HomeNet Pakistan is a Non-Profit Organisation (NGO) working for the uplift of home-based workers that comprise 70 per cent of informal workforce contributing for the progress of economy.

The cabinet has approved the Punjab domestic workers policy but has failed to approve and adopt the Punjab Home based workers policy which was included in the 2012 Women Empowerment Package.

“The delay in the approval is creating frustration among the HBWs awaiting the policy approval and implementation since 2012. The approval of the domestic workers policy is a good step towards the recognition of the informal sector and its vulnerability , but at the same time, we feel that the government has delayed the HBWs policy and thus all the commitments as under Punjab Labour policy remains in vain,” the executive director of HomeNet Pakistan commented.

The Government of Punjab very proactively finalised the HBW Policy and drafted the legislation but the delay in the approval of the policy and its adoption is creating uneasiness and frustration among the home based workers.

“The tall claims of provincial government of being pro-poor and pro- women are false as there is no implementation of the policy,” civil society activists Maria Kokab, Danish Batool, Humaira Aslam Aafreen Fatima, Khalid Mahmood said and urged the government to implement the policy in letter and spirit.