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Friday, 3 July 2020

Labour laws in india : A Brief Introduction and Changes in labour law structure of Gujarat,UP,MP in 2020

WHAT ARE LABOUR LAWS? 

Labour laws protect an employee's rights & set forth an employer's responsibilities & obligations towards his employees. 

Labour laws help in securing equal opportunity & pay, physical & mental well- being, workplace safety, job security, & more. They also regulate the functioning of trade unions.

Labour laws in india : A Brief Introduction and Changes in labour law structure of Gujarat,UP,MP in 2020


WHO ARE THE LABOUR LAWS APPLICABLE TO? 

Labour laws are only applicable to the formal sector (private and public). This means that workers employed in the informal sector are not protected by them. The informal or unorganised sector includes, but is not limited to, domestic workers, fisherfolk, small & marginal farmers, landless farmers, manual scavengers, midwives and more. 

Each labour law legislation sets out its applicability. For example, the Payment of Bonus Act applies to profit making organisations which have 20 or more workers. Further, it is not applicable to establishments that are exempted by the government or employees who have signed an agreement with their employer.

WHAT ARE THE INDIAN LABOUR LAWS? 

In India, both the Central and State Governments can make labour laws. 

There are about 44 central & 150 state labour laws. They can be divided into 4 types- 

1. Laws relating to conditions of work (ventilation, toilets, holidays, working hours) 
2. Laws pertaining to wages and remuneration 
3. Laws on social security 
4. Laws related to industrial relations (collective bargaining, labour-management relations) & employment security (unfair dismissals, layoff procedures). 

Some common labour laws are- Factories Act, Industrial Disputes Act, Payment of Wages Act, Minimum Wages Act, Equal Remuneration Act, Contract Labour Act, Payment of Bonus Act, Workmen's Compensation Act

In the past few weeks various State governments have introduced major changes in labour laws. The most significant changes were introduced by Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. But Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab, & Uttarakhand have also made changes in the structure. 

On the face of it, these changes are being brought to incentivise economic activity in the respective states.

Labour laws in india : A Brief Introduction and Changes in labour law structure of Gujarat,UP,MP in 2020


Changes in Labour Law Structure 

Uttar Pradesh 

35 out of 38 labour laws have been abrogated for a period of three years, with the exception of the Bonded Labour Act, provision for timely payment of wages, & the Employees Compensation Act. Provisions relating to the safety and security of workmen, and the laws relating to women & children have been retained. 

What does this imply?

The implication of this is that


- the employers have no obligation to pay the workers anything more than the prescribed minimum wage
- no social security obligations (gratuity, provident fund) 

- employers will have total flexibility in hiring & firing employees - need not provide basic amenities to the workers (toilets, ventilation, lighting, protective gear, facilities for sitting, creches, lunch rooms, rest- rooms, drinking water ) 

- need not maintain proper cleanliness 

- workers will not have any redressal mechanism to address their grievances - no requirement for weekly day off with pay, over- time 

-new trade unions cannot be registered for three years.

Madhya Pradesh 


1. The MP Government has amended two state laws: the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1961, & the Madhya Pradesh Shram Kalyan Nidhi Act. 

The implications are as follows: 


- workers are prevented from bargaining for better working conditions 

- employers will not have to make contributions towards employee welfare 

2. All new factories are exempted from certain provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act. Provisions related to lay-off & retrenchment of workers, & closure of establishments will continue to apply. However, the other provisions of the Act such as those related to industrial dispute resolution, strikes & lockouts, & trade unions, will not apply. This exemption will remain in place for the next 1000 days (33 months).

3. All factories are exempted (for 3 months) from the provisions of the Factories Act except those relating to registration, licensing, approval, safety & hazardous processes, overtime wages, & a few others. 

The implications of this are that: 


-employers need not maintain adequate ventilation & temperature, lighting, toilets, drinking water 

- no measures to prevent overcrowding 

- need not maintain proper cleanliness 

- facilities for sitting are not mandatory 

- need not provide first aid kits, canteens, shelters, restrooms, lunch rooms, creches 

4. 11 types of industries are exempted from the application of the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Relations Act which regulates industrial disputes

Gujarat 


Gujarat is in the process of promulgating an ordinance exempting new units from the application of all labour laws with the exception of the Minimum Wages Act, the Employees' Compensation Act and the safety-related provisions of the Factories Act for a period of three years. Implications will be the same as in Uttar Pradesh.

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Other States


Maharasthra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, MP, Uttarakhand, Assam, Punjab, Haryana & Himachal Pradesh have amended the Factories Act to increase the number of working hours from 8 to 12 hours per day.

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