The four labour codes the Code on Wages, Industrial Relations Code, Social Security Code and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code are set to replace 29 labour laws. Over 90% of India’s 50 crore workers are in the unorganised sector. And through these codes the government wants to ensure that all of them enjoy the benefits of labour laws related to minimum wages and social security.
New 4 Codes are beneficial for all
For ensuring workers’ right to minimum wages, the Central Government has amalgamated 4 laws in the Wage Code, 9 laws in the Social Security Code, 13 laws in the The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 and 3 laws in the Industrial Relations Code.
For this, by getting the Bills passed by the Parliament, the Central Government has made headway towards changing the standard of living of workers in a fundamental manner. This will have positive and far reaching effect on workers and nation building.
These Labour Reforms will enhance Ease of Doing Business in the country. Employment creation and output of workers will also get enhanced.
The benefits of these four Labour Codes will be available to workers of both organized and unorganized sector. Now, Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) and coverage of all types of medical benefit under Employees’ Insurance will be available to all workers.
Four Labour Laws have been amalgamated into the Minimum Wages Code. Due to this, for the first time, all the workers have got the Right to Minimum Wages.
Labour Code (Wage Code) 2019: Workers will get benefitted
- After 73 years of independence, work is being done to provide wage security, social security and health security to 50 crore workers, covering organized and unorganized sectors.
- The guarantee of minimum wages is available to 50 crore workers of organized and unorganized sectors.
- Review of minimum wages in every 5 years.
- Guarantee of timely payment of wages to all workers.
- Equal remuneration to male and female workers.
- For the first time, around 40 crore workers of unorganized sector in the country have got this right.
- To remove regional disparity in minimum wages the provision of floor wage has been introduced.
- The determination of minimum wages has been made easy. It will be based on criteria such as skill level and geographical area.
- From 28.08.2017 Payment of Wages Act has increased the wage ceiling from Rs. 18000 to Rs. 24000.
Social Security for everyone
To ensure security for all workers, the Central Government has amalgamated 9 Labour Laws into the Social Security Code in order to secure the right of workers for insurance, pension, gratuity, maternity benefit etc.
Through this Code, a comprehensive legal framework for Social Security has to be created so that workers can receive social security completely.
Under this, in a step wise manner, a system would be institutionalized for the contributions received from employer and worker.
The Government can fund the contribution of workers from disadvantaged section.
Social Security Code, 2020
- Through a small contribution, benefit of free treatment is available under hospitals and dispensaries of ESIC.
- The doors of ESIC will now be opened for the workers of all sectors along with the workers of the unorganized sector.
- Expansion of ESIC hospitals, dispensaries and branches upto district level. This facility to be increased from 566 districts to all the 740 districts of the country.
- Even if a single worker is engaged in hazardous work, he would be given ESIC benefit.
- Opportunity to join ESIC for platform and gig workers engaged in new technology.
- Plantation workers to get benefit of ESIC.
- Institutions working in hazardous area to be compulsorily registered with ESIC.
Expansion of Social Security
- Benefit of pension scheme (EPFO) to all workers of organized, unorganized and self-employed sectors.
- Creation of social security fund for providing comprehensive social security to the unorganized sector.
- Requirement of minimum service has been removed for payment of gratuity in case of fixed term employees.
- Employees engaged on fixed term to get same social security benefit as permanent employees.
- Creating a national database of workers of unorganized sector through registration on Portal.
- Employers employing more than 20 workers to mandatorily report vacancies online.
- A Universal Account Number (UAN) for ESIC, EPFO and Unorganised Sector workers.
- Aadhaar based Universal Account Number (UAN) to ensure seamless portability.
Right of security to workers in all situations
For providing better and safe environment along with occupational health and safety to workers at the work place, 13 existing Labour Laws have been subsumed in the Occupational, Safety,
Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020
In this Code, the security of interests of workers engaged in factories, mines, plantations, motor transport sector, bidi and cigar workers, contract and migrant workers has been ensured.
OSH Code (Occupational, Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code) – 2020
- Various provisions in the OSH Code will ease the lives of the Inter-State Migrant Workers.
- Anomalies of the Inter-State Migrant Workers Act, 1979 have been comprehensively addressed in the OSH Code. Earlier only workers appointed by a contractor were recognized as Inter-State Migrant Workers. However, under the new provisions of the Code, workers can be Aatmanirbhar as they can now register themselves as Inter-State Migrant Workers on the national portal. By this provision, the worker would get a legal identity which would enable them to get benefits of all social security schemes.
- A provision has been made for employers to provide travelling allowance annually to an Inter-State Migrant Worker for undertaking a to-and-fro journey to his native place.
- Providing of appointment letters to the workers has been made mandatory.
- Mandatory, free annual health check-up of the workers to be provided by the employers.
- For a worker engaged in building and other construction work in one State and moving to another State, benefit from the Building and other Construction Workers’ Cess fund will be provided.
- Under the “One Nation – One Ration Card”, an Inter-State Migrant Worker would get ration facility in the State he is working in and the remaining members of his family would be able to avail of the ration facility in the State where they reside.
- Mandatory helpline facility in every State for resolution of Inter-State Migrant Workers’ grievances.
- National database to be created for the InterState Migrant Workers.
- Instead of 240 days, now if a worker has worked 180 days, he shall be entitled for one-day leave for every 20 days of work done.
- Women empowerment through the Labour Codes
- Right to women workers to work in all types of establishments.
- Women have been given the right to work at night with their consent and it has also been ensured that the employer would make adequate arrangements to provide safety and facilities to women workers at night.
- Maternity Benefit Act was amended in 2017 to increase the paid Maternity leave for women workers from 12 to 26 weeks and ensure mandatory crèche facility in all establishments having 50 or more workers.
Towards end to disputes
By amalgamating 3 Labour Laws into the Industrial Relations Code the Central Government has taken steps for safeguarding the interests of Trade Unions as well as the workers. In this Code, all possible steps have been taken for industrial units and workers so that disputes do not arise in future
Industrial Relations (IR) Code, 2020
In case of job loss, a worker will get benefit under the Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna.
- Under the Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna, a worker of organized sector who loses his job gets financial aid from the Government. This is a type of unemployment allowance, the benefit of which is admissible to the workers covered under the ESI Scheme.
- At the time of retrenchment a worker would be provided 15 days’ wages for re-skilling. The wages would be credited directly into the bank account of the worker so as to enable him to learn new skills.
- Faster justice to the workers through the Tribunal.
- Workers disputes to be resolved within a year in the Tribunal.
- Industrial Tribunals to have 2 members to facilitate faster disposal of cases.
- In industrial establishments, a Trade Union having 51 per cent votes shall be recognised as the sole negotiating union which can make agreements with employers.
- In industrial establishments in which no trade union gets 51 per cent votes, a negotiating council of trade unions shall be constituted for making agreements with employer.
Welfare of Inter-State Migrant Workers
The Government had been working for a long time for increasing benefits of the Inter-State Migrant Workers. Initiatives have been taken in this direction to strengthen laws for the InterState Migrant Workers.
For Inter-State Migrant Workers and the poor, the Central Government has accelerated many schemes like Garib Kalyan, delivery of free food grains to the homes, etc.
Benefits of Codification
- Single Registration; Single License; Single Statement; Minimum Forms
- Common definitions
- Reduction of Committees
- Web-based surprise inspection
- Use of technology: Electronic registration and licensing.
- Reduction of compliance cost and disputes