Labour Sector Reforms: Three Bills introduced in Lok Sabha

The government introduced three Bills in the Lok Sabha to bring reforms in the labour sector.  The bill includes laws on social security, occupational safety and health and industrial relations. These bills are the part of  government’s labour reform agenda under which, government plans to amalgamated all the existing labour laws into four labour codes that are- on wages, industrial relations, social security and safety, health and working conditions. This is being done to improve ease of compliance and bring uniformity in labour laws.

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020

  • The bill subsumes- the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947; the Trade Unions Act, 1926; and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
  • It recognises the trade unions.
  • The code contains provision for “notice periods” for strikes and lock-outs, standing orders, and resolution for industrial disputes.
  • The bill also include the mandatory provision for companies, having 300 or more workers, to prepare orders regarding the conditions of service, including shift timings and termination of employment.
  • The code is aimed at promoting the ease of doing business and increasing investment by encouraging the labour flexibility.

The Social Security Code Bill

  • The Bill replaces nine social security laws.
  •  It subsumes the Employees’ Provident Fund Act, 1952, the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, and the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.
  • The bill seeks to bring unorganised sector, gig workers and platform workers under the umbrella of social security schemes by providing them life and disability insurance, health benefits, maternity benefits, provident funds and skill upgradation.

The Occupational Safety Code

  • It replaces 13 labour laws on safety, health and working conditions.
  • The laws include: Factories Act, 1948; Mines Act, 1952; Dock Workers Act, 1986; Contract Labour Act, 1970; and Inter-State Migrant Workers Act, 1979.
  • The bill seeks to regulate health and safety conditions of workers in establishments with 10 or more workers.

Who can regulate the labour?

  • Labour stands under the Concurrent List of the Constitution.  So, both Parliament and state legislatures can make laws regulating the labour.