The Senate Standing Committee on Interior has passed the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2017. The bill, after being validated, will prevent employers who have more than 15 employees on their payroll to pay wages via cash. The wages will only be paid via bank transfer or cheques.
A significant portion of Pakistan’s economy is undocumented. Most of the employers in Pakistan pay their workers in cash without any documented paperwork or formalities. If the employers pay through bank transfer or check, this secures the employee’s payment and if their rights are violated in any way, the employees can take legal action against the employer using the documented data and proof.
Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi moved this bill. In his briefing on Friday, Abbasi added that this would allow employees to raise their concerns against employers if their rights were violated in any way. The private sector often makes payments in cash so they don’t leave a money trail.
Rehman Malik, the Committee Chairperson Senator made another proposal that employers should also open bank accounts for their employees. He explained,
Opening a bank account is not an easy task for an ordinary laborer like those working at brick kilns. I propose that employers also be bound to arrange for opening bank accounts of their employees.
The proposal has been adopted and added to the bill. It has become a draft law and will be presented before the National Assembly before it gets enacted.
So far, the bill is applicable in the federal areas, however, Rehman Malik ordered the Law Division to recommend provinces to create such laws to protect the rights of employees as well.