In an effort to provide a comprehensive framework for labour welfare and employment regulation in India, various reforms have been brought by the legislature to ensure employee health and safety, foster good industrial relations, extend social security, and bring efficiency in administration and enforcement of labour laws. The Codes introduced have consolidated and replaced various laws and have a broader coverage to extend their application to different sectors.
The following codes have been introduced as a part of the reforms:
- The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020
The Act repeals thirteen Central laws relating to the occupational safety, health and working conditions of the persons employed and apply to establishments employing over 10 people. As per the developments, the law aims to create a central database to replace the existing system that requires multiple registrations under different laws with separate headcount thresholds. Certain welfare provisions relating towork and overtime hours, leave entitlements, night shifts, holidays will be applicable to a wider section of businesses.
- The Industrial Relations Code, 2020
The Industrial Relations Code, 2020 repeals three Central labour laws regulating trade unions, conditions of employment in industrial establishment or undertaking, investigation and resolutions of industrial disputes.
The Industrial Code calls for the establishment of a negotiation council by the employer and a ‘worker’s re-skilling fund’ by the appropriate Government.
- The Code on Social Security, 2020
The Code on Social Security, 2020 repeals nine Central laws relating to social security and intends to extend its provisions to all employees and workers either in the organized or the unorganized or any other sectors including ‘gig workers’, and provide them with benefits of life, disability and accident insurance, health and maternity, child care and old age. This Code has repleaded the various employment benefit legislations including maternity benefit and provident fund enactments.
- The Code on Wages, 2019
The Code on Wages, 2019 was passed by the legislature in August 2019 and consolidates the laws regulating wages and bonus payments. The law extends wage protection and creates a minimum wage for all workers and employees. This wage will be determined by the government by considering the minimum living standards of the employees, geographic locations and other factors. It further makes provisions for the payments of the wages electronically and allows for mandating the wage periods for employees to not exceed more than a month.
The main objective of the law reforms are to consolidate various labour and employment laws while strengthening the machinery to provide for an efficient enforcement of the same. The reforms further aid in simplifying labour laws, facilitating job creation and employment growth while protecting workers’ rights, increasing coverage of businesses under labour laws and also brings in provisions to meet the needs of emerging types of labour.