KARACHI: Home-based workers (HBWs) are the significant portion of the workforce, but have not been given their basic rights. The Sindh government should fully implement the policy it has announced for HBWs. These views were expressed by HomeNet Pakistan representative Ume Laila in a press conference on the occasion of the International Home Based Workers Day. “It is only recently that home-based work has been recognised as part of informal economy in Pakistan with Sindh and Punjab having approved policies for home based workers. Worldwide the workforce involved in informal work has not only continued, but also expanded due to new market forces and technology. This is true for high income countries as well. There is an ever expanding percentage of ‘part time, irregular and unstable forms of work with little or no social protection’ whereas the scope of regular, stable workforce is reducing,” she said. “In the fragmented and dispersed production within the informal economy, Home-based workers in particular are generally given low-value and tedious tasks, such as cropping loose threads, basic stitching, beadwork, packing and labelling. According to a recent study by International Labour Organisation (ILO), home-based workers work hours and wage rates are placed at the bottom end of the informality continuum, home-based workers are chronically and significantly underpaid. On average, the home-based workers surveyed (and their helpers) work 12.3 hours per day, six days a week and derive a monthly income of 4,342 Pakistani rupees (PKR) from their labour,” she said. Karamat Ali from PILER said that a plan of action for home-based workers had to be formulated. “The policy for HBWs needs to be implemented in true spirit. The identification and recognition of home-based workers, their mainstreaming into national and provincial economies and implementation of the Sindh policy for home-based workers are some of the steps that need to be taken as soon as possible. Otherwise, the HBWs will be left alone without any protection,” he said. Mahnaz Rahman from Aurat Foundation said that the integration of home-based workers into national and regional plans is important. “The government should take steps for the data collection of HBWs in the province. It is pertinent that the HBWs registration processes should start as the workers are in the state of dismal after having the approved policy. The steps for protecting their rights and giving them social security should be prioritized and come into action at once,” she said. Rehana Yasmin, a representative of HBWs, said that after a decade of long hard work and struggle, the policy of HBWs had been finalised and presented in the Sindh Cabinet for approval. “The government of Sindh has to announce make the action plan and law for HBWs. We demand the law for HBWs Sindh. HBWs should come under the social protection mechanism. The Sindh government should look into the development informal workers and utilize its potential for generating revenue for the province, she further said that Pakistan must ratify C-177 and fulfill international commitment. Sindh government should proactively adopt legislation, and start door to door registration of HBWs,” she said. “We are living under hardships, but no policy or laws look into this. There are no specific schemes for us, not a single mechanism of ascertaining wages, no complaint mechanism. Millions of HBWs are awaiting for the registration and social security,” an HBW leader from Korangi, Karachi said. “We demand the implementation HBWs policy. The laws should immediately be approved as a large portion of women are workers too. HBWs needs social protection, coverage, and government must bring them under social protection framework,” they said. Published in Daily Times, October 20th 2017.