FE Today Logo

Job injury scheme coverage widens

Accidents while commuting to and from work to be treated as industrial accidents

FE REPORT | May 15, 2024 00:00:00

The government has expanded the coverage of the pilot employment injury scheme to include compensation for accidents that may occur when workers commute to and from their work.

The eighth meeting of the Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) Pilot governance board on Monday decided to include 'commuting accidents' as industrial accidents and make those eligible for compensation payout, starting from 1st July 2024.

The decision was unanimously supported by all members of the board including employers' organisations-Bangladesh Employers Federation (BEF), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), workers' organisations-United Federation of Garments Workers (UFGW), National Coordination Committee for Workers' Education (NCCWE) and government agencies--Central Fund, Department of Labour (DoL, Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE).

Labour and employment secretary Md Mahbub Hossain was quoted in a statement issued by the ILO as saying: "We are very pleased to include commuting accidents in the Employment Injury Scheme Pilot to ensure protection of industries and workers in Bangladesh."

ILO technical experts provided insights into key aspects of the technical and financial aspects of such an expansion, including conditions for considering commuting accidents as workplace accidents but keeping separate records as these accidents take place outside the factory and not identifying them with any factory.

Additionally, they presented a strong case for the financial sustainability of the coverage of accidents under the EIS Pilot.

The employers' associations responded that they support fundamental rights of workers for social protection and would be happy to consider new benefits provided they do not affect the industry's competitiveness.

They agreed including commuting accidents under the pilot scheme from 1st of July this year.

The workers' representatives also expressed their commitment to support the initiative.

The RMG sector is a relatively safe sector, however, road travel is the most horrible part of this job, therefore commuting accidents are important to be covered, they added.

Article 7 of the ILO Employment Injury Benefits Convention No 121 (C-121) requires countries to define industrial accidents, including the conditions under which a commuting accident is considered to be an industrial accident.

Adapting this measure brings the Bangladesh EIS one-step in closer alignment with the requirements outlined in C -121, added the statement.

In the ambit of the EIS Pilot, commuting accidents are considered accidents sustained while on the direct way between the place of work and the workers' local residence.

With the inclusion of commuting accidents in the EIS Pilot, the Pilot now covers two out of three recommended vulnerabilities, with 'Occupational Diseases' is yet to be covered.

A process has, however, started to develop the national capacity and data on occupational diseases.

ILO's country director for Bangladesh Tuomo Poutiainen said that since June 21, 2022, the EIS Pilot has been compensating injured workers and the dependents of deceased workers in the ready-made garments sector for work-related accidents.

"With this inclusion of commuting accidents, the initiative is expected to provide enhanced protection to workers and improve industrial relations, which are often disrupted by accidents involving workers on their way to or from work," he said.

ILO and GIZ are jointly providing technical support to the government, employers' and workers' organizations in implementing the EIS Pilot.

ILO initiative is funded by the governments of the Netherlands and Canada, whereas the GIZ initiative is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

[email protected]

Share if you like