Pilot ‘Employment Injury Scheme’ launched by Ministry of Labour and ILO to provide income protection to victims of work-related accidents and occupational diseases

Press release | Dhaka, Bangladesh | 22 June 2022
DHAKA (ILO News) - Workers in the export-oriented ready-made garment (RMG) sector are set to get enhanced social security through income protection following the launch of a new Ministry of Labour and International Labour Organization (ILO) initiative in collaboration with the Netherlands and Germany (GIZ).

Today, the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) in collaboration with the ILO officially launched the Pilot of an Employment Injury Scheme by way of a Launch Ceremony. Member of Parliament and Hon’ble Advisor to Prime Minister Salman F Rahman inaugurated the event in presence of State Minister, MoLE Begum Monnujan Sufian, Secretary, MoLE Md. Ehsan-E- Elahi, Country Director of ILO Tuomo Poutiainen, and higher officials from the German, Norway and Netherlands Embassy. Senior representatives from BGMEA, BKMEA, Workers’ Associations, development partners and other national stakeholders also participated in the ceremony.

Keeping in mind that workers in the ready-made garments industry play a remarkable role in the country’s growing GDP, it is important to consider their rights and security on priority. This facility will be expanded to other economic sectors upon success of the EIS-Pilot.  Since 2013, ILO and GIZ have been working together with the Government of Bangladesh and industry partners for ensuring workers’ social and financial security. As a continuation of the process, after having several tripartite consultations, the Government of Bangladesh has decided to introduce a periodic payment scheme for occupational injuries, disabilities and deaths in the RMG industry.

At the inauguration event, Mr Tuomo Poutiainen, Director, ILO-CO-Bangladesh highlighted ILO’s approach towards improved social protection for workers in Bangladesh. In his speech, he mentioned that “The launch of ‘Employment Injury Protection’ scheme for RMG Workers in Bangladesh is an important and historic step in strengthening accident protection in the country. ILO is happy to support this effort and work with the Government, Employers and Workers to create a modern and contemporary compensation system for workers and their families that protect their incomes and living when they need it the most. Such a system also promotes sustainable business practices and provides right kind of signals to investors; as Bangladesh is step by step upgrading its social protection systems for the benefit of all.“

The speakers at the event welcomed the project idea and shared their opinions on the initiative. The Chief Guest, Mr Salman F Rahman, MP, Advisor to Hon’ble Prime Minister said, “Social Security is high on the agenda of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”

Mr Md. Ehsan-E-Elahi, Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of Bangladesh, thanked ILO and said, “It is a historical day for as we launch the first-ever social insurance scheme, as envisioned in the ‘National Social Security Strategy’. We have the privilege to ensure that the pilot is designed in line with the ‘International Labour Standards’, taking the national settings into consideration.”

Speaking at the event, Mr Faruque Hassan, President, BGMEA said “The ready-made garments industry of Bangladesh has made significant progress in the areas of safety and sustainability, especially workers’ welfare and industrial relations. The pilot of the ‘Employment Injury Scheme’ will contribute to the social well-being of workers and employers and above all improvement of the country's social security system. As we are committed to ensuring the safety, dignity and well-being of our workers, we look forward to collaborating in initiatives that benefit our industry and workers.”

Ms Shamim Ara, President of NCCWE stated that through this pilot now the workers have taken a step forward to get freedom from accidental nightmares. This step will ensure workers’ safety and prevent their helplessness due to workplace accidents.

At this event, Mr Bas Blaauw, First Secretary, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands mentioned that “The Netherlands is proud to support the launch of a Pilot on Employment Injury Insurance in Bangladesh, building on the groundwork laid together with partners during the previous years. This Pilot has the potential to be a win-win situation, as social protection and sector competitiveness go hand in hand. The Netherlands looks forward to working with all the relevant stakeholders to make the Pilot a success.”

Mr Johannes Schneider, Head of Development Cooperation from the German Embassy said “The EIS Pilot can rightly be considered the peak of this reform process: With the addition of the Pilot, we now have, for the first time, an employment injury scheme that meets international standards in terms of compensation and that effectively protects workers and their families from falling into poverty as a result of workplace accidents and occupational diseases.”

About Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) :  Employment injury protection is one of the nine branches of Social Protection recognized by ILO for all workers under its Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102).  With increasing industrial and commercial activities in Bangladesh, the number of work-related accidents are inevitable to increase.  For this, on one hand, a number of initiatives are taken to improve preventive measures for reducing accidents – while on the other hand, the Government and ILO have been working to develop a better ‘compensation’ system for victims of work-related accidents.  The Government of Bangladesh has already taken this issue as a priority and highlighted the same in 2nd Phase Action Plan of the National Social Security Strategy (NSSS).

It is expected that through this successful pilot, the workers and their families will be under an improved income protection system. ILO will continue technical assistance to the Government of Bangladesh and industry partners throughout the period of establishing the EIS to make it functional and sustainable, as well as strengthening the public administration capacity on the EIS.

For more information, please contact:
Noushin Shah, National Project Coordinator, EIS