Labour Bills 2020 – Debatable Codes
Labour Bills 2020 – Government has passed three labour codes in the short monsoon session – the Industrial Code Bill 2020, the Code on Social Security Bill 2020 and the Occupational Safety and Health and Working Conditions Code Bill 2020. These long pending reforms are expected to stimulate employment growth.
FOR CLOSE TO 30 YEARS, there have been calls for revolutionary changes in India’s antiquated la· hour laws. Yashwant Sinha, finance minister in the Vajapayee government, had proposed few modofications but extensive opposition compelled him to retract. Since 2004 UPAI and UPA II tried to execute labour reforms but lack of majority for the party would not allow it. Even the Modi government with its majority in Lok Sabha had to wait long for getting clear majority in the Rajya Sabha too. Recently labour laws have been rabbited and Central laws have been chomped into new codes. The government intends to upsurge the domain of social security and several safety by including inter-state migrant workers. It has also proposed measures that offer greater suppleness to employers to hire and fire workers.
NEW WINE IN NEW BOTTLE
The Industrial Relations Code Bill contains terms to regulate the rights of workers to strike. The Code has increased the threshold for regulation of conduct for workmen employed in industrial organisations to more than 300 workers. Few state governments like Rajasthan had already enlarged the threshold.
The provisions of standing order prescribed by Industrial Relations Code will be mandatoryfor every industrial establishment wherein 300 or more workers are employed, or were employed on any day of the preceding twelve months. Fresh terms and conditions have also been specified for calling a legal strike. As per the Code, no person employed in an industrial establishment shall go on strike without a 60 day notice or during the pendency of proceedings before a Tribunal. The Code covers all industrial institutions for the obligatory notice period and other stipulations for a legal strike.
WORKER RESKILLING FUND
The Code has also suggested a worker reskilling fund and mentions that the employers’ contributions towards the fund should amount to 15 days wages last drawn by the worker immediately before the retrenchment or cutback, along with the contribution from such other sources.
The second one, Social Security Code, pro· posed to establish a National Social Security Board to advise the Central government on devising appropriate strategies for diverse segments of unorganised, gig and platform workers. According to the Code, aggregators engaging gig workers will have to contribute 1-2 per cent of their yearly turn• over for social security.
The third, Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, has widened the defnition of worker and included inter-state migrant workers. According to the definition the worker who has come voluntarily from one state and obtained employment in another, having monthly earnings up to Rs 18,000 is termed a migrant worker. This makes a difference from the earlier definition of only contractual employment. The Code has erased the previous provision for provisional housing facility for workers near the work sites; but recommended a journey allowance; the employer should pay a lump sum amount to as· sist the worker travel from his or her native place to the place of his or her employment and back.