New Labour Code 2020 | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 22nd Sep 2020

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.– Vivian Greene

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #150 :“New Labour Code 2020 | UPSC

New Labour Code 2020 | UPSC

M.R. Madhavan
New Labour Code 2020 | UPSC

M.R. Madhavan is President of PRS Legislative Research, New Delhi

      HEADLINES:

Dilution without adequate deliberation

      CENTRAL THEME:

It is important that there is wider scrutiny and public discussion on the labour bills

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:3 : Labour Laws : Wages : Industrial Code : Employment

      MAINS QUESTION:

There is a prior shift in the new labour laws passed by the Parliament recently to the old ones. Discuss -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Comparison
  • Major Changes
  • Shift in Approach

      INTRODUCTION: 

On September 19, the government withdrew three Bills related to labour laws and replaced them with new ones.

  • SIGNIFICANCE : These Bills make significant changes to regulation of labour and the employer-employee relationship in several ways.
  • LABOUR LAWS : India has a complex regime of labour laws, and several committees have recommended simplifying and rationalising them.

Last year, the government introduced four labour codes as Bills to replace 29 existing laws.

  • LABOUR CODES : These Codes dealt with regulation of wages, occupational safety and health, social security, and industrial relations.
  • RE-INTRODUCED BILLS : The Code on Wages was passed by Parliament last year. Other three Bills that the government has replaced and introduced in the Lok Sabha.

      BODY: 

MAJOR CHANGES

  • EMPLOYEE LIMIT : The Factories Act of 1948 defines any manufacturing unit as a factory if it employs 10 workers (and uses electricity) or 20 workers (without using electric power).
  • RAISED THRESHOLD : These thresholds are being raised to 20 and 40 workers, respectively.
  • REDUCTION : The Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 requires any establishment employing over 100 workers to seek government permission before any retrenchment.

The threshold has been raised to 300, with the government empowered to raise it further through notification.

  • MISSING PROVISIONS : These changes have been debated for over two decades but were not proposed in the 2019 Bill.
  • CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT : The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act of 1946 requires employers to formally define conditions of employment under them if they have at least 100 workers.

 The 2020 Bill has increased this threshold to 300 workers.

  • POWER TO EXEMPT : They provide the statewith the power to exempt establishments from any or all of their provisions.
  • INDUSTRIAL CODE : The Code on Industrial Relations governs working conditions, trade unions, retrenchment and layoffs, dispute resolution, and establishes industrial tribunals.
  • POWER TO EXCUSE : The government may, in public interest, exempt any new industrial establishment from the provisions of this Code.
  • CODE ON OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY : The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions specifies leave and maximum work hours, requires health and safety norms including adequate lighting and ventilation and welfare measures.

It subsumes 13 Acts including the Factories Act.

  • DISCRETIONARY POWERS : The 2020 Bill allows the State government to exempt any new factory from its provisions in the interest of increased economic activity and employment generation.
  • EMERGENCY : Factories Act permitted such exemption for a limited period of three months only during a “public emergency”.

CONTRACT LABOUR

  • EARLIER PROVISIONS : The 2019 Bill was applicable to establishments which employed at least 20 contract workers .
  • CONTRACT WORKERS : The contractors could supply at least 20 workers; these thresholds have been raised to 50 workers.
  • PROHIBITED CONTRACTUAL WORK : The 2020 Code prohibits the employment of contract workers in any core activity.
  • PERMITTED WORK : The code specifically permits employment in a specified list of non-core activities including canteen, security and sanitation services.

WOMEN EMPLOYMENT

  • OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY  : The 2019 Bill on Occupational Safety allowed the government to prohibit employment of women in undertaking operations that could be dangerous to their health and safety.
  • PRESENT BILL : The 2020 Bill removes this power to prohibit employment and instead allows the government to require employers to provide adequate safeguards.

      IASbhai Windup: 

A SHIFT IN APPROACH

  • ESSENTIAL FEATURES : Many essential features of the law are no longer specified in the Codes but have been delegated to be prescribed by the government through Rules.
  • CONSIDERATIONS : Another important issue for consideration is whether there should be relaxations for small enterprises to reduce their compliance burden.
  • DUE DELIBRATION : These three new Bills were introduced on Saturday, and passed in three hours leaving no room for them to be discussed .

An important question is whether such features should be hard-coded in the Acts.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | New Labour Code 2020 | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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