Launch of Punjab’s home based workers survey report

On 28th December 2017, the Punjab Bureau of Statistics (PBS) launched its 'Home Based Workers Survey Report 2016' with the technical support of the ILO and UN Women. This is the first survey of Home Based Workers (HBW) undertaken in South Asia, paving the way for the recognition of this category of workers, mainly comprised of women, as formal workers.

Press release | Lahore, Pakistan | 28 December 2017
LAHORE (ILO News): Female Home Based Workers (HBWs) still face the challenge of being recognized as formal workers . Concrete steps should be taken to advocate for the registration of HBWs with social safety net schemes and other relevant institution’s to expand the coverage of the existing labour legislation to this category of workers. This will be in line with the provisions of the HBW policy in Punjab which was approved in 2017. Continuity of data collection and its analysis on working conditions in the informal and rural economy is important to inform actions that support the implementation of this new policy. These were some of the messages that emerged from the ‘Home Based Workers Survey Report Launch’ held in Lahore on 28th December 2017.

The Bureau of Statistics Punjab in collaboration with the ILO and UN-Women organized the lunch of the Punjab Home Based Workers Survey Report 2016 in Lahore. The launch follows a survey of the HBWs which was undertaken towards end of 2016. This is the first ever survey of HBWs in the Asia pacific region undertaken by the Bureau of Statistics Punjab. The launch was attended by the Provincial and Federal representatives of the Bureau of Statistics, Provincial Labour Departments, UN Agencies, Academia, Civil Society Organizations, Employers and Workers’ organizations from across the country.

Mr Ali Amir Bukhari, Director, Bureau of Statistics, Punjab highlighted the importance of the HBW survey 2016 and expressed his gratitude to the ILO and UN Women for their technical support to the Bureau of Statistics. He said that the findings of the survey would pave the way for the government and relevant stake holders to play their role in safeguarding the rights of HBW as part of their gradual formalisation and improve the policy and legislative environment for them. He said the statistics emerging from the HBW survey were authentic and reliable as sound and scientific methodology had been employed to collect the statistics.

Mr Zahoor Awan, General Secretary Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF) stated that, the lack of verifiable and authentic data has always been a major constraint and he appreciated the Bureau of Statistics for their commendable work in compiling statistics of the HBWs in Punjab. Mr Awan called upon the government and other stake holders to take concrete actions in making and implementing laws that would bring millions of exploited, under paid, ill managed home based workers under the purview of laws and provide them with social security benefits by linking them to the social security schemes in Pakistan.

Mr Muhammad Akram, representing the Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) paid tribute to the Bureau of Statistics for its unprecedented work in carrying out a scientific survey for the HBWs in Punjab. He said that reliable figures and verifiable statistics were essential for planning and for making realistic policies and laws for employers and workers in the country.

Ms Ume Laila Azar, of Home Net Pakistan, highlighted the long struggle for the cause of the HBWs, spanning over years, which had culminated in making provincial governments, give importance and focus to the issue of HBWs. She said that the labour force participation of the HBWs had never been documented which should be done and HBW survey in Punjab is a welcome first step and these surveys should be undertaken regularly and in the other provinces.

Dr Farah Masood, Secretary, Department of Labour, Government of Punjab, thanked all the delegates and the Bureau of Statistics for the launch of the HBW Survey Report. She said that 90% of the HBWs consisted of women who were working under hazardous conditions, don’t even get the minimum wages of an unskilled worker, without access to any social safety scheme. Dr Masood said that the survey provided the relevant statistics and information whose usefulness would be determined by their utility in the area of policy and law development as well as implementation for the purpose of transforming the situation of the HBWs in Pakistan.

Dr Masood said concrete steps should be taken to improve the economic status of HBWs and committed that the Government of Punjab would keep on taking positive steps to bring HBWs into the fold of the labour laws. She thanked the ILO and UN Women for their long term commitment to supporting the cause of the HBWs and in organizing the launch of the HBW survey report.

The launch of the HBW’s Survey Report was conducted with the support of ILO’s project on sustaining Pakistan’s GSP-Plus status by strengthened national capacities to improve ILS compliance and reporting with the funding of Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO)-European Union.