In recent times, Bangladesh has become one of the top choices for companies and corporate entities looking to expand in South-East Asia. This has been primarily because of the country’s massive population, most of which is below the age of 30.

The country’s labour law framework is mostly governed by two statutes: The Bangladesh Labour Act 2006 and Bangladesh Labour Rules, 2015 and their succeeding amendments.

Among other things such as the rights of workers and exhaustive guidelines on conducting business in the country, these two statutes also impose a plethora of obligations or legal compliances on any employer running commercial or industrial activities in the country. Needless to say, if these requirements are not followed to the letter, the employer concerned maybe have to suffer penal consequences corresponding to the violation.

This article aims at identifying some of the compliance requirements that must be properly performed in order to avoid any future complications for the individual or establishment.

Securing The Requisite Permissions

This is important if you are looking to start a business. The Labour Act clearly lays down that employers have an existing obligation of notifying the Chief Inspector at least 15 days prior to the commencement of the work in the establishment concerned. This shall be a detailed notice which contains a number of varied information such as the name and situation of the establishment, name and address of the employer; address to which communications relating to the establishment may be sent; nature of the work or business to be carried or in the establishment; nature and quantity of power to be used, etc.  

Appointment Letter And Identity Card

Labour law in Bangladesh clearly states that the employer has a responsibility to provide to every employee, at the time of recruitment, two things-

  • An appointment letter, and-
  • An identity card with a photograph

An appointment letter is a formal letter written to the candidate who has been selected for a particular job role. It is to be signed by the candidate as proof or confirmation of acceptance. An appointment letter must include the following in order to be considered to be valid-

  • The date on which the appointment letter is issued;
  • Name of worker,
  • Father’s Name,
  • Mother’s Name,
  • Spouse Name,
  • Address: Present and Permanent
  • The designation, type of work, date of joining,
  • Class of workers,
  • Wages or pay scale (Wages or salary and the rate of the increase of annual salary, if any),
  • Other payable financial facilities (house rent, medical, education, food, conveyance, festival and attendance allowances and gratuity if any, and
  • An Undertaking to the effect that all appointment conditions, existing service rules (if any), and Labour Act will be complied with.

Furthermore, it has been provided that both the appointment letter and identity card will be provided by the employer to the employee at the employer’s expenditure. However, in case the worker loses the identity card, a fresh one may be issued to him at a maximum price of TK 50/-. Similarly, if the appointment letter is lost or damaged, the photocopy maintained in the worker’s personal file by the employer may be issued to him if he requests the employer for the same.

Issuance Of Service Book

Both the Labour Act of 2006 as well as the Labour Rules, 2015 lays down several guidelines regarding the service book, some of which have been covered below:

•           In its current form, the law mandates that every employee shall provide a service book at their expense for every worker employed under them. This has to be done within 15 days of the appointment of the worker or after the completion of the probation period of such worker. However, such service book shall remain in the custody of the employer.

•           If the worker wishes to keep and maintain a duplicate copy of his or her service book, he or she may do so at their own expenditure.

The Labour Act of 2006 places significant emphasis on the concept of a service book. What is the service book? The law provides that a service book must necessarily comprise at least 16 pages which contain the following information in an organised and systematic manner:

  • The name of the worker, name of mother and father and address of the worker, (inappropriate case name of husband/ wife shall be written)
  • His or her date of birth,
  • Specific particulars are necessary for the identification of such workers, (Page 1)
  • name and address of the employer under whom previously employed, if any, (Pages 2-5)
  • period of employment,
  • occupation or designation,
  • wages and allowance, if any, (Pages 6-9)
  • leave availed (Pages 10-13), and
  • conduct of the worker (Pages 14-16).

Maintenance Of A Register Of Workers

In addition to Service Books for each employee, the law also requires the employer in every establishment to maintain a Register of Workers which shall remain available to the Inspector on a regular basis during working hours. According to the guidelines mentioned in the Labour Act, a valid register of workers is required to contain the following:

  • The name and date of birth of each worker in the particular workplace or organisation;
  • Date of appointment;
  • The nature of his work;
  • The periods of work were fixed for him;
  • The intervals for rest and meals to which he is entitled;
  • The days of rest to which he is entitled;
  • The group, if any, in which he is included;
  • Where his group works on shifts, the relay to which he is allotted; and –
  • Such other particulars as may be prescribed by rules;

The Labour Rules further prescribe that the employers shall have to enter all descriptions of the register in Bengali with the dates following the Christian calendar. They also have the option to maintain two Registers, in English and Bengali respectively.

Access To The Law

The law requires that an abstract or gist of the necessary provisions of the Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006, should be written in Bangla & plain text and be displayed in the conspicuous place of every establishment so that workers may gain some basic understanding of the law and become aware of their rights and duties.

One has to keep in mind that these compliances have been drafted keeping in mind the interests of both employees and employers. Timely implementation of these rules will ensure that the employer’s business remains compliant in the eyes of the law which will ensure that their operations remain uninterrupted. Adherence to these guidelines is in the employers’ best interest.

Written and compiled by the Corporate and M&A team at Mahbub & Company