Review of the Wage Earners' Welfare Fund (WEWF) in Bangladesh
- Responsible Organisations: Wage Earners' Welfare Fund (WEWF) (Government); International Labour Organization (ILO) (International Organisation)
- ILO Regions: Asia and the Pacific
- Country(ies): Bangladesh
- Thematic areas: Protection
- MLFLM: 8.; 9.(a),(b),(c); 11.
The Wage Earners' Welfare Fund (WEWF) is a single trust fund pooled from the mandatory membership contributions of migrant workers, investment and interest income on these funds, and income from other sources. The WEWF's main purpose is to ensure the welfare of migrant workers by financing various activities. The first ever review of the Fund was carried out as part of the ILO's SDC-funded project on 'Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh' to provide an understanding of the policies, functions, and challenges that the Fund faces as it is expected to fulfil its mandate. The review process involved field work, including review of records, reports and statements, two mini-surveys of 300 out-bound migrant workers, in-depth interviews with 117 key informants, and focus group discussions with 57 workers. The review concluded that: checks and balances should be instituted in WEWF rules to maximise accountability and increase transparency; the WEWF should engage in partnerships for the delivery of costly secondary services such as education and training; the Fund should set up a risk management team, pursue digitalisation, provide spaces for migrant workers on its Board, and institute a monitoring and evaluation policy; a contingency fund for mass repatriation should be set up for times of crisis; medical screening should be compulsory and migrant workers' skills and training should be updated. Since the planning of the review was done in consultation with the authorities, WEWF owned the review and proceeded to take some corrective measures as the review was being conducted. These steps included improving the processes for seeking death-compensation, burial benefits, etc.