The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 (OSHWC), also called the OSH Code, has proposed to subsume 633 provisions of 13 major Labour laws into one single Code. The bill was passed in both the houses in September 2020 and received the Presidentâ€™s assent on September 28.
- Some of the major acts that have been subsumed are the Factories Act 1948, the Contract Labours Act 1970, and the Mines Act 1952 etc.
- The code is applicable in units employing 20 or more workers. In case the factory is run without the aid of power, then it is applicable where 40 or more workers have been employed.
- The code lays importance on health, safety and welfare of the workers in industry, trade, manufacturing, transport etc.
- The Code is not applicable to the offices of Central Government, State Government and any ship of war of any nationality.
- The draft rules of OSH Code, 2020 states that each employee must be issued an appointment letter and no employee shall be employed in any establishment unless he has been issued a letter of appointment.
- The appointment letter must be in the prescribed format comprising the details of the post, category of skill, avenue for achieving higher wages or higher position, wages, etc. Such letter must be issued within 3 months of coming into force of OSH Code.
- The draft rules also included a provision for annual health examination of all the workers of a dock, factory, mine or any construction work. The examination is to be conducted by the employer free of cost.
- The OSH Code draft rules also include a provision of providing a journey allowance to workers once in a year.
- The rules also include single electronic registration, licence and annual integrated return for an establishment.
- The draft rules also provide provisions for wages of the workers. A contractor should fix the wage periods of the workers and no wage period should exceed 1 month. Wages of all contract labourers in an establishment or by the contactor shall be paid before the expiry of seventh day after the last day of the wage period. Also, all the payment should be done through bank transfer only.
- As per the OSH Code draft rules, safety committee is mandatory for all establishments with more than 500 workers.
- The draft rules also lays provisions for overtime; for calculating overtime an extra work of 15 to 30 mins will be counted as 30 minutes. At present, less than 30 minutes extra work is not considered as overtime.
- Rules related to Mines have also been simplified in the OSH Code, 2020.
Labour Ministry invites suggestions on OSH Code
The Ministry of Labour has invited feedback and suggestions on the draft rules under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH) Code, 2020. The feedback can be submitted within 45 days from November 19.