International labour standards in Bangladesh

A Bangladesh garment worker
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The ILO works with its partners in Bangladesh to promote compliance with international labour standards by helping address shortcomings in legislation and by providing policy advice.

ILO Conventions
Bangladesh has been an important and active member State of the ILO since 22 June 1972. To date, Bangladesh has ratified 33 ILO Conventions  including seven fundamental Conventions as enshrined in the ILO Declaration. The ILO Office works in close collaboration with its tripartite constituents and social partners towards achieving Bangladesh’s decent work objectives.

Bangladesh Labour Act (2013)

The Bangladesh Government has made amendments to the 2006 Labour Act to make it more in line with International Labour Standards.

The government approved the new labour law in 2013 including 87 sections of amendments to boost workers' rights, including better access to freedom of association (i.e., to form trade unions), and improving occupational health and safety conditions.

The ILO has provided detailed feedback on further amendments required to make the law fully compliant to international labour standards. The Government of Bangladesh has expressed that it is a continuous process and necessary steps will be taken for further amendment of the Bangladesh Labour Act in due course, in consultation with tripartite partners considering the socio-economic conditions of the country, and with the ILO’s assistance.

Bangladesh Labour Act Implementing Rules

On 16 September 2015 the Government of Bangladesh issued the implementation rules of the Bangladesh Labour Act. The ILO provided comments on the draft rules to the Ministry of Labour and Employment and actively encouraged that the rules were in line with international labour standards.

Laws on export processing zones (EPZs)

The Government of Bangladesh is in the process of drafting a new law relating to EPZs, entitled the “Bangladesh EPZ Labour Act 2013”. The ILO is providing feedback on the draft law and encouraging that the law is in compliance with international labour standards especially the ILO Conventions Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) and Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)

National Labour Policy (2012)

The ILO provided technical expertise and support to the development of the National Labour Policy (2012).

National Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Policy (2013)

The ILO provided financial and technical support to the development of a National OSH Policy. As part of the process the ILO worked closely with government, employers and workers representatives as well as civil society.

National Skills Development Policy (2011)

The development of a national policy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and skills development was a major outcome of the ILO implemented, European Commission-funded TVET Reform Project. Key activities within the project included development of a national policy and a reform proposal for relevant laws and regulations and a proposal for improvements in tasks and mechanisms.


The ILO has worked to improve legal and policy frameworks, systems and services relating to labour migration. Support has been provided to the formulation of the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act, 2013 and the revised Overseas Employment Policy (2013). Advocacy has also taken place with regards to ratification by Bangladesh of the Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181).