Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has recommended all its member factories to keep their units closed untill April 04 amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The trade body took the decision on Thursday in an emergency meeting with its board members.
BGMEA reached the decision a day after the government announced Tk 50 billion in virus fund to be used only for paying wages and allowances to the workers and other employees of the export oriented industries.
"Factories, if they decide to keep it open will have to ensure maximum safety and hygiene for their workers and will have to keep them open and take responsibility of their workers," BGMEA predident Dr Rubana Huq said.
According to BGMEA, some 959 factories reported 826.42 million pieces worth $2.67 billion export orders were cancelled and held up by global buyers until Thursday.
Besides, authorities of some 38 garment factories shut their units due to coronavirus pandemic, the trade body informed.
Majority of them announced layoffs at their units according to the provisions of 12 and 16 under labour law.
Workers will get half of their basic payment and house rent during the layoff period, according to the law.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) on Wednesday instructed its members to operate their factories on their own responsibility after ensuring all required safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
It also instructed all member units to pay March wages and other allowances timely.
Some 4,500 factories are registered with BGMEA, while BKMEA has more than 1200 registered units.
The sector created employment for more than 4.0 million workers.
The country fetched US$34.13 billion from readymade garment exports in the last fiscal year.
The RMG export earnings witnessed a negative growth throughout the current fiscal (FY20).