A timely intervention, albeit late, the labor ministry has begun making it mandatory for all organizations in the private sector to institute provident fund scheme for their employees by May 31 this year.
It’s also heartening to know that the labor ministry would strictly monitor the implementation of this scheme in the private sector beginning June this year. The need for such a scheme has been clearly outlined in section 99 of the Labour and Employment Act of Bhutan, 2007, which enunciates that an employee is entitled to provident fund and gratuity upon retirement from service; a thing which is almost non-existent in many of the private companies today.
Many private companies today don’t have this scheme for their employees, while it has been emphasized time and again. Therefore, not just notifying the private companies, but also checking its implementation is a good beginning. Because many a time, when there is no implementation, we see such directives become a thing of the yore or some collecting dust in some government’s shelves.
Besides the implementation, the labor ministry also needs to beef up to be able to solve all-work-related disputes that it receives and establish its authority in deciding such cases. This is because there are several instances where the labor ministry has been hapless in deciding issues related to provident fund and gratuity after retirement. Instead of solving such cases, they forward those, as what could be like an easy way out for them, to the court.
Nonetheless, instituting provident fund and gratuity in the private sector would undoubtedly help to change the scenario of civil service being the most attractive jobs in the future. The reluctance of many graduates to join the private sector also stems from the absence of provident fund, gratuity and other retirement benefits. It’s because of job security and the social welfare system in the civil service that many don’t want to work in the private sector.
Contrarily, say for an example, an employee, whether government or private, gets equal benefits, the private sector could then also be a preferred choice among jobseekers. This would attract capable and motivated employees, besides also motivating employees who are already on the payroll. Thus it’s only likely that more earnings for the company or employer would be generated; while it may not be that painstaking for a company that the five percent that it’s putting in an employee’s salary is resulting to committed and motivated employees who are generating profits for him/her.
The private sector is undoubtedly the main engine of growth of the nation. However, investment alone doesn’t suffice for private sector growth. It needs innovation, human resource or hardworking people. And the much-needed human resource can be brought in with provisions like good salaries, retirement benefits, incentives, maternity leave and training opportunities. Jobs must be made attractive!