The opinion and views expressed in this short article are the author’s own and do not reflect those of the International Labor Organization.
Launched on 21 June 2022 by the Government and social partners in Bangladesh, the Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) Pilot in the RMG sector is an innovative public-private initiative to begin a movement for change in Bangladesh. The EIS Pilot is a transformative process that aims at equipping Bangladesh with a fully nationally owned employment protection scheme providing all workers medical care, rehabilitation and income replacement benefits in case of work-related injury in line with international standards. The EIS Pilot initially targets the RMG sector and enjoys the financial support of global brands to cover the difference between what international law sets as minimum level of benefits and what the national law provides. Each brand willing to participate commits to a financial contribution estimated at 0,019% of the value of its total order in Bangladesh.
With the support of the ILO and GIZ (German international cooperation agency), the Pilot works on the strengthening and capacity building of the Central Fund, which is the national institution tasked to deliver benefits in case of a work-related injury. The ILO and GIZ also work with national stakeholders to establish the administrative processes and necessary financial governance safeguards. Furthermore, to fine-tune its assessment of the costs of such a scheme, the EIS Pilot will gather data on occupational injury and medical care, based on a sample of representative factories. More detailed and accurate data might pave the way to complementary initiatives aiming to improve the workers' return to work and living conditions.
Contributing brands are addressing a critical social need: ensuring effective protection when work-related injuries occur in their supply chains. In doing so, they fulfill the fundamental workers' right to a safe and healthy workplace, now included in most due diligence legislative trends. With a minimal contribution, brands gain a competitive edge by attaching a social dimension to the production of their garments. A new generation of consumers highly values this engagement. Furthermore, the Pilot protects brands' supply chains, workers and suppliers against workplace accident disruption and work stoppages. Thus, there is a clear measurable social and financial return in supporting the Pilot for brands. With this initiative, RMG brands show their leadership within the global supply chains, by bringing in the social factor of ESG into their investment decisions.
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