The structure of Bangladesh’s labour force is changing and increasing numbers of women are entering the formal sector workforce, in particular as factory workers. Yet, on giving birth, many are obliged to leave their jobs as there is no one to look after their children during the working day. It is evident that many private sector employers are financially able to provide this service. Indeed, it is a service from which they will benefit since it will enable them to retain skilled labourers.
The Government will, therefore, develop legislation by December 2015 that will make it compulsory for private sector employers with more than 50 employees to provide childcare services for both female and male employees by December 2018. They will be able to do this as individual enterprises or combine with other enterprises to offer a joint service to their employees. Within MoWCA the Government will create a team that will take this initiative forward, working with enterprises to develop these services. MoWCA will also be responsible for ensuring compliance with the law. The law will establish penalties for non-compliance.
The Government will extend the scheme to the public service, ensuring that all government employees can enjoy the same level of benefits as working parents in the private sector. It is proposed that all government offices – both central and local – to have established childcare facilities by December 2018.
If this initiative is successful, significant improvements in child wellbeing is likely to happen, in particular in urban areas. The Government will review the programme in 2019 and decide whether it can be extended to smaller enterprises.