Labour Agreements

Parliament has passed the three labour agreements code bills

1. The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020;

2. The Industrial Relations Code, 2020;

3. The Code on Social Security, 2020

They have merged 24 central labour laws in one major to labour reforms. The National Democratic Alliance government has merged 29 central laws into four codes. Parliament had passed the first of the codes; the Wage Code in August 2019.The labour agreements codes has subsequently received the Presidential assent on September 29, 2020.The reforms make industries more flexibility in terms of hiring and retrenchment. As industrial strikes will become more difficult by clamping new conditions and also expand the social security net for both the formal and the informal workers.

Under the Industrial Relation Code,

The government has allowed companies to fire workers or shut plants without the prior approval of the government, having up to 300 workers. Therefore prior approval is required by the Firms having more than 300 workers. If the appropriate authorities do not respond to their request of retrenchment, then the proposal will be deemed to be approved.

1. The Industrial Relation Code lays down new conditions on the right of workers to go on strike. Unions will now have to give 60 days’ strike notice.

2. If proceedings are pending before any labour tribunal or the National Industrial Tribunal, workers cannot go on a strike (for 60 days) after they are concluded.

3. These conditions apply to all industries.

 Earlier, workers could go on strike by giving notice which wasbetween two weeks to six. Flash strikes are now outlawed.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020,

Amends laws regulating occupational safety, health and working conditions of employees. The code gives power to state government, that they can exempt any new factory from the provisions of the Code in order to create more economic activity and jobs. It fixes the maximum daily work limit to eight hours a day. Women will be entitled to get employment in all type of establishments for work and in case of hazardous or dangerous work operations; the employer is required to have adequate safeguards in place prior to employment, by the government.

 The Code on Social Security, 2020

For the first time the code on social security, 2020 promises universal social security , for both organized and informal workers including gig and platform workers. The government, the code states, shall formulate and notify, suitable welfare schemes, schemes relating to “provident fund; employment injury benefit; housing; educational schemes for children; skill up gradation of workers; funeral assistance and many more” time to time. The social security code recommends the setting up of a National Social Security Board which will recommend the central government about the suitable schemes for the unorganised workers.

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