Bangladesh has a high population and density country and a significant percentage of people are unskilled and thereby remain unemployed. These people engage themselves as manual labour for carrying out any kind of labourious jobs. Except those formally employed in different Industries and organizations are not really bounded by any kind of employment acts/regulations. They are guided by the existing practises and rates of wages depending on the type of work and locality. Whereas, Bangladesh govt is very keen to uphold the interest of the labourers and there is a labour law in the name “Bangladesh Labour Act 2006” which is revised on several occasion to meet the current situation. This law is implemented and monitored by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in confirmity with the ILO. For details on ministry pl follow: https://mole.gov.bd.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment functions through a number of departments to ensure different types of activities related to the labour force for the overall interests of the labourers.
As per the Labour Act of Bangladesh, minimum wages refer to monthly minimum pay for workers specially in the garment industry including other established Industries which are monitored by the govt. So these sectors do maintain the formal procedure of payment due to inspection and compliance liability by the monitoring agencies. Labourers of these sectors are being paid wages as per the scales/rates laid down by the govt through Labour Law and its supplements/amendments time to time. The present Labour scenario in Bangladesh (updated on August 2019).
Living Wage Family
Living Wage Individual
Retirement Age Men
Retirement Age Women
Wages High Skilled
Wages Low Skilled
The minimum age for workers in Bangladesh is 18 years in factories and establishments. Child labour is prohibited in Bangladesh, though unofficially some child labourers are seen in some local factories. Contracts are made in the form of a letter of offer. Workers may also be engaged on verbal agreements. In government organizations and in some private organizations as well, a probation period exists for skilled or semi-skilled workers varying between three months to one year and during this period either party may serve one months’ notice for termination from or giving up of the job. In the private sector, the dignity of labour is ensured in accordance with the principles enunciated in the ILO convention and recommendations.
The employment market
Bangladesh offers a substantial manpower skilled, unskilled, educated and uneducated in all sectors. There is a good supply of very low-cost labour in the country. Many of them have a working knowledge of English language and possess the basic skills required by industries. The expenditure incurred by an employer to train his employee is exempted from income tax. All employers are expected to comply with the government's labour laws, which specify employment conditions, working hours, wage levels, leave policies, health and sanitary conditions, and compensation for injured workers. Freedom of association and the right to join unions is guaranteed in the Bangladesh Constitution. The right to form a union, subject to government approval, is also guaranteed. However, unions are not yet permitted to form in the export processing zones. Labour unions remain strongest in the jute, textile, and transportation sectors.
Wages rates for manual labourers
Regulations regarding minimum wages, hours of work and occupational safety and health are not strictly adhered to as per the existing Labour law for the official employments. Minimum wages set by law, vary depending on occupation, but are generally ignored for the informal employments. There is no national minimum wage. In most cases, private sector employers ignore this wage increases, arguing that low labour productivity vitiates any arguments for set wage. In reality, the wages of such informally employed labourers depends on the type of employments, work place, season, daily/hourly, package deal and negotiations among the concerned parties based on govt guidance and existing practices. Some of such instances are shown below:
Type of labour
Min Wage at Jute/Cotton/Textile Industries ( skilled labourer)
Min Wage at Jute/Cotton/Textile Industries ( Unskilled labourer)
Min Wage at Engineering Industries (skilled labourer)
Min Wage at Engineering Industries (unskilled labourer)
Loading / Unloading (Bagged food grains)-at Sea port – For labour contractors
BDT 160-180 / MT
Loading / Unloading (Loose food grains)-at Sea port- For labour contractors
BDT 380-400 / MT
Loading/Unloading (Bagged food grains)-at Sea port- Wages for labourers - Shift A
BDT 341 /Day
Loading/Unloading (Bagged food grains)-at Sea port- Wages for labourers - Shift B
BDT 375 /Day
Loading/Unloading (Bagged food grains)-at Sea port- Wages for labourers - Shift C
Note: These rates are fixed for particular work and place. OT system is also there if the labourers work beyond 8 hours a day. It is fixed in the consensus of all the parties involved in the operation in the presence of Govt Representatives. But in most of the cases, labourers are engaged for such works through enlisted contractors of particular organizations. In that case, OT and other benefits for the labourers will be looked after by the contractors, as the total operation will be executed on a pre determined contract rates.