BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [‘Overtime Allowance’ Case]

Writ Petition No. 1256 of 2006

High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

BLAST, along with the Bangladesh Federation of Workers’ Solidarity, filed a writ petition challenging a memo issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment stating that the overtime allowance shall be twice the rate of basic wages, which is violative of the provisions of the Factories Act, 1965. The Secretary, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association sought an explanation regarding the calculation of overtime allowance from the Chief Inspector of Factories and Establishment and the Ministry issued the impugned memo as per interpretation of the Chief Inspector.

The petitioners argued that Section 58 of the Factories Act, 1965 provides for overtime allowance at the rate of twice the ‘ordinary wages’ as opposed to ‘basic wages’ and there are also provisions for payment of piece rate workers. The manner of calculation of overtime allowance on basis of twice ordinary rate of wages per hour is detailed in Rule 70. The petitioners argued that the Ministry of Labour and Manpower earlier published a notice under the Minimum Wages Ordinance, 1961 setting out minimum wages of the garment workers inclusive of basic salary, house rent (30% of basic) and medical allowance. The petitioners argued that the misinterpretation of statutory provisions to the prejudice of the garments workers, arbitrary replacement of allowance on basis of ‘ordinary wages’ by ‘basic wages’ and the continued inaction of the respondents to revoke the decision is without lawful authority and violates the workers’ rights to be treated in accordance with law as guaranteed by Article 31 of the Constitution.

Order: The High Court issued a Rule Nisi on 26.02.2006 on the respondents to show cause as to why their decision stipulating calculation of overtime allowance on the basis of twice the rate of basic wages should not be declared to be without any lawful authority and of no legal effect.

Laws Cited: Constitution, Article 31, Factories Act, 1965; Factories Rules, 1979; Minimum Wages Ordinance, 1961

Pending hearing


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