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January 29, 2021

By Raza Hassan, Zahir Riaz and Masham Sheraz

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Amendments to Companies Act 2017

The Companies Act 2017 has been amended to cater to the specific needs of start-ups. The amendments include the removal of the time limit for payment of subscription money, the introduction of employees' stock options and share buy-backs, and the issuance of 'sweat' equity for private limited companies. The new provisions also provide powers to the corporate regulator in Pakistan to enact rules and regulations for promoting ease of doing business and the smooth running of companies.


Relief for Employers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Federal Government and State Bank of Pakistan have announced a special refinance scheme, which is expected to ease cash flow constraints of employers by providing low interest loans to finance wages and salaries.


Protection of workers' rights during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Islamabad Capital Territory and Sindh Governments have passed notifications directing that, during the notified lockdown period due to COVID-19, no worker will be laid off and all workers shall be paid wages in full by their respective employers.




Greater protections for transgender people

Since 2018, transgender people have been afforded the same protections to dignity and security as other members of the public. Transgender people are now formally recognised by law, as “any person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the society norms and cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at the time of their birth”. There is no legal requirement for a transgender person to obtain consent from a medical board to be recognised as their desired gender.


Criminalising failure to pay minimum wage

From December 2018, it is a criminal offence for employers to pay their labourers less than the minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.


Greater support for women in the workplace

In 2019, the government is expected to implement measures aimed at facilitating women labourers in the workplace. Such measures are expected to include the establishment of day-care centres and female-only bathrooms and canteens.

With thanks to Raza Hassan, Zahir Riaz and Masham Sheraz of Orr Dignam for their invaluable collaboration on this update.


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Suzanne Horne
Partner, Employment Law Department

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Kirsty Devine
Associate, Employment Law Department

Image: Aashna Parekh
Aashna Parekh
Associate, Employment Law Department