26th September 2021

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New labour codes

The government introduced new versions of three labor codes

The government has introduced new versions of three labor codes: the Labor Relations Code Bill, 2020, the Social Security Bill, 2020, and the Security Code Bill. health and working conditions at work, 2020 – in Lok Sabha on Saturday.

  • While proposes to expand the scope of social security to include self-employed workers and interstate migrant workers, also proposed measures that will provide greater flexibility for employers to hire and fire workers without government permission.

What are the main proposals?

In the 2020 bill on the industrial relations code, the government proposed to introduce more conditions limiting the right to strike of workers, as well as an increase in the threshold related to dismissals and downsizing in establishments industrial.

  • They currently employ 300 workers with 100 or more workers measures that could give employers more flexibility to hire and fire workers without government permission.
  • The Labor Relations Code has raised the threshold for the requirement of a standing order (rules of conduct for workers employed in industrial establishments) to more than 300 workers.
  • This implies that industrial establishments with up to 300 workers will not be required to file a standing order, a measure that experts say would allow companies to introduce arbitrary terms of service for workers.
  • The Standing Labor Committee, in its report presented in April, also suggested raising the threshold to 300 workers, noting that some state governments such as Rajasthan had already raised the threshold and that, according to the Ministry of Labor, this had resulted in “one job and reduced staff reduction”.
  • “The Committee wishes that the threshold be raised accordingly in the code itself and that the words” as notified by the corresponding government “be deleted because the reform of the labor law by the executive channel is not not desirable and should be avoided whenever possible” had said.
  • The Labor Relations Code establishes that the provision relating to the standing order shall apply to “any industrial establishment in which three hundred or more than three hundred workers are employed or have been employed on any day of the preceding twelve months”.

What are the concerns raised by the new labor codes?

Analysts say raising the threshold for standing orders will weaken the labor rights of workers in small establishments with fewer than 300 workers.

“The increase in the standing order threshold from the current 100 to 300 is unjustified and shows that the government is keen to give employers enormous flexibility in terms of hiring and firing … dismissal for alleged misconduct and downsizing. personnel for economic reasons will be quite possible for all industrial establishments employing less than 300 workers. This is a complete demolition of job security, ”

said professor and labor economist at XLRI, KR Shyam Sundar.
  • The Labor Relations Code also introduces new conditions for holding a legal strike. The deadline for the arbitration procedure was included in the conditions for workers before going on a legal strike compared to today’s conciliation time.
  • For example, the International Relations Code proposes that no person employed in an industrial establishment goes on strike without notice 60 days in advance and during the processing of the proceedings in a court or a national labor tribunal and 60 days after the conclusion of said procedure. Therefore, extending the legally allowed period before workers can start a legal strike makes a legal strike almost impossible.
  • The IR code has been expanded to cover all industrial establishments during the required notice period and other conditions of a legal strike. The Standing Labor Committee recommended that the notice period required for the strike not be extended beyond utilities such as water, electricity, natural gas, telephone and other essential services.
  • At present, a person employed in a public service cannot go on strike unless he has notified a strike in the six weeks preceding the strike or within fourteen days after giving such notice, which the Code IR offers to apply for all industrial sectors establishments.

What are the other proposals for workers?

  • The draft law on the Code of International Relations also proposed a workers ‘retraining fund, although contributions to the fund were only detailed by the employer of an industrial establishment amounting to fifteen days’ salary withheld for the last times by the worker. immediately before the dismissal with the contribution of the latter other sources. The reference to “other sources” of funding for the skills retraining fund is vague, experts say.
  • The other two codes also proposed changes to extend social security and include interstate migrant workers in the definition of workers. The Social Security Code proposes a National Social Security Council which will recommend to the central government the formulation of adequate schemes for the different sectors of non-union workers, construction workers and platform workers.
  • In addition, aggregators employing workers on the site must contribute 1 to 2% of their annual bill to social security, with a total contribution not exceeding 5% of the amount payable by the aggregator to workers on the site and platforms.
  • The Code of Safety, Health and Working Conditions at Work defines inter-state migrant workers as the worker who comes from one state and gets a job in another, earning up to Rs 18,000 per month. The proposed definition differs only from the current definition of contract employment.
  • However, the Code dropped the previous provision on temporary accommodation of workers near construction sites. However, it offered a travel allowance, a lump sum to be paid by the employer for the worker’s return to his place of origin from his place of work.
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