The Parliament has passed three Historic and path-breaking Labour Codes which
- Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020
- Code on Social Security Bill, 2020
- Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020
While the government proposes to increase the ambit of social security by
including gig workers and inter-state migrant workers, it has also proposed
measures that will provide greater flexibility to employers to hire and fire
workers without government permission.
Do You Know?
- These three bills have been re-introduced after incorporating 174 out of
233 recommendations given by Standing Committees
- These three bills are part of four labour code envisaged incorporating
29 labour laws. First code on wages has already been enacted. All the labour
laws (29 in number) being amalgamated into 4 labour codes are:
The key proposals are:
|Name of the Code
- The Payment of Wages Act, 1936
- The Minimum Wages Act, 1948
- The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965
- The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
- The Trade Unions Act, 1926
- The Industrial Employment (Standing orders) Act, 1946
- The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
- The Factories Act, 1948
- The Plantations Labour Act, 1951
- The Mines Act, 1952
- The Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees
(Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955
- The Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958
- The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961
- The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966
- The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
- The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976
- The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and
Conditions of Service) Act, 1979
- The Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of
Employment) Act, 1981
- The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986
- The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of
Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996
|Social Security Code
- The Employees' Compensation Act, 1923
- The Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948
- The Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act,
- The Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies)
- The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
- The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
- The Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981
- The Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act,
- The Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008
In the Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020
- New conditions for legal strike – no person employed in an industrial
establishment shall go on strike without a 60-day notice and during the pendency
of proceedings before a Tribunal and sixty days after the conclusion of such
proceedings. Earlier such restrictions applied only to public utility services.
- Raised the threshold for requirement of a standing order — rules of
conduct for workmen employed in industrial establishments — from the
existing 100 to 300 workers.
- Reskilling Fund – To set up a re-skilling fund for training of
retrenched workers with contribution of the employer of an amount equal to 15
days last drawn by the worker.
In the Social Security Code Bill, 2020
- National Social Security Board which shall recommend to the central
government for formulating suitable schemes for different sections of unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers
- No more ambiguities: The bill has defined various terms like “career
centre”, “aggregator”, “gig worker”, “platform worker”, “wage ceiling”, etc.
- Social security for gig workers: Also, aggregators employing gig workers
will have to contribute 1-2 per cent of their annual turnover for social
security of workers.
- The facility of ESIC would now be provided in all 740 districts. At
present, this facility is being given in 566 districts only.
- EPFO's coverage would be applicable on all establishments having 20
workers. At present, it was applicable only on establishments included in the
- Provision has been made to formulate various schemes for providing
comprehensive social security to workers in the unorganised sector.
- Work to bring newer forms of employment created with the changing
technology like “platform worker or gig worker” into the ambit of social
security has been done in the Social Security Code.
- Provision for Gratuity has been made for Fixed Term Employee and there
would not be any condition for minimum service period for this.
- With the aim of making a national database for unorganised sector
workers, registration of all these workers would be done on an online portal and
this registration would be done on the basis of Self Certification through a
In the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020
- To employ women in all establishments for all types of work. They can
also work at night, that is, beyond 7 PM and before 6 AM subject to the
conditions relating to safety, holiday, working hours and their consent
- To Promote Formalisation: Issuing of appointment letter mandatorily by
the employer of an establishment to promote formalisation in employment
- Inclusion of inter-state migrant workers in the definition of worker:
Inter-state migrant workers are defined as the worker who has come on his
own from one state and obtained employment in another state, earning up to Rs 18,000
- The proposed definition makes a distinction from the present definition
of only contractual employment.
- Portability Benefits: An Inter-State Migrant Worker has been provided
with the portability to avail benefits in the destination State in respect
of ration and availing benefits of building and other construction worker cess
- However, the Code has dropped the earlier provision for temporary
accommodation for workers near worksites.
- It has though proposed a journey allowance — a lump sum amount of fare
to be paid by the employer for to and fro journey of the worker to his/her
native place from the place of his/her employment.
- Free health check-up once a year by the employer for workers which are
more than a certain age.
- Cine Workers have been designated as Audio Visual Worker so that more
and more workers get covered under the OSH code. Earlier, this security was being
given to artists working in films only.
What are the issues raised over the new labour codes?
- Dilutes rights of Workers:
Workers in small establishments (with up to 300 workers) will have their
rights watered down with no protection of trade unions, labour laws
- Workers safety safeguards diluted:
The new rules will enable companies
to introduce arbitrary service conditions for workers.
- .Corporate Friendly:
The new rules provides more flexibility to
employers for hiring and firing workers without government permission
- Restricts Freedom of Speech:
Restrictions on strikes and demonstrations
is akin to assault on the freedom of industrial actions.
- Ambiguity about reskilling Fund:
The Code lacks clarity on the
substantive and procedural aspects of reskilling Fund which will fizzle out like
the National Renewal Fund in the 1990s
- Women's Safety:
Allowing women to work during night time in spite of
various safeguards imposed may increase their vulnerability to sexual abuse.
- The increase in the threshold for standing orders will water down the
labour rights for workers in companies having less than 300 workers.
- The IR Code introduces new conditions for carrying out a legal strike.
- Elongating the legally permissible time frame before the workers can go
on a legal strike has made a legal strike well-nigh impossible.
- The IR code has expanded to cover all industrial establishments for the
required notice period and other conditions for a legal strike.
- The Standing Committee had recommended against the expansion of the
required notice period for strike beyond the public utility services like
water, electricity, and other essential services.
In the changed economic scenario post COVID-19 pandemic, the government has to
balance the rights of workers and economic recovery. Favouring one over the
other will impact the Country's prospects in long run. These Bills make
significant changes to regulation of labour and the emp loyer-employee
relationship in several ways.