Labour Laws in Place, Compliance still lacking

First Global DecentWorkCheck Review shows: Labour Laws in Place, Compliance still lacking

Amsterdam, 6 October 2013 – At least 53 countries worldwide, of which 8 in Asia, provide legislation to protect their workforce reasonable against inhumane labour practices. This is shown by the Global DecentWorkCheck Review, conducted in 2013 by WageIndicator Foundation. However, many of these rulings still lack compliance. The results of this international comparison are published on the occasion of the World Day For Decent Work, October 7th.


The review on Decent Work legislation reveals that in Asia a working week of more than 40 hours is a norm. India, Pakistan, Cambodia and Vietnam have the the longest working hours, i.e., 48 hours a week. On the other hand, China, Indonesia and South Korea have the shortest working hours, i.e., 40 hours a week. Sri Lanka lies in the middle and has 45 hour week.  In all 8 Asian countries reviewed, overtime hours are to be paid from 150-200% of the normal wage rate, as well as night hours. But in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan no compensation for night hours is paid. Paid annual leave is common. However, the duration is quite short ranging from five working days (in China) to less than three working weeks. The only exception are Cambodia and South Korea where Paid Annual Leave for 19 working days is provided. 


Protection of working mothers and children is usually well founded in labour law in the 8 Asian countries participating in the review on Decent Work. Maternity leave is the norm however most of the countries provide less than 13 weeks of paid maternity leave. The only exceptions are China (14 weeks) and Vietnam (30 weeks). The burden of payment for maternity leave is often borne by the employer. Only Vietnam requires the state to pay the maternity benefit. In China and South Korea, employer and government share the payment of maternity leave. With the single exception of Pakistan, the law stipulates breast feeding breaks on the job in all these Asian countries. Paternity leave, for the young father, is not so common. Other gender- and child protection related laws are in place though.


Yet from scores of Decent Work-debates held by WageIndicator during the last couple of years in over a dozen developing countries, it appears that the legal labour standards are not always lived up to in practice. On top of that WageIndicator Research in for example in Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan done by the Foundation shows as well long working hours, and payment under the legal Minimum Wage. Meanwhile labour Laws are for workers who work in the more formalised sectors.


The practical conclusion from this Global DecentWorkCheck Review therefore is, that  the implementation of the existing laws is the most urgent task ahead.


The Global DecentWorkCheck Review of labour law legislation 2013 is the first of its kind. It is meant to be repeated each year to monitor developments in the field of labour laws. National WageIndicator websites feature the DecentWorkCheck since 2008, enabling the public to permanently consult applicable labour law, per legal issue.


Get access to full analysis and key findings of the Global DecentWorkCheck Review 2013


About WageIndicator Foundation


The WageIndicator Foundation was launched in 2001 to contribute to a more transparent labour market for workers and employers.


The WageIndicator Foundation collects, compares and shares labour market information through (online & offline) surveys and desk research. It serves as an online library for wage information, labour law and career advice.


The WageIndicator Foundation is assisted by world-renowned universities, trade unions and employers’ organisations and currently operates in over 70 countries. Its international staff consists of some 100 specialists worldwide.


The WageIndicator Foundation is a global organization reaching millions on a monthly basis.


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