The Uttar Pradesh Government on May 8th, 2020 released a notification citing certain regulations regarding relaxation of labour laws to be followed from April 20th, 2020 until July 19th, 2020. The Allahabad High Court has now been informed that the Government of Uttar Pradesh has now withdrawn the notification vide order dated May 19th, 2020.
As per the notification released on May 8th, 2020 coming into force with immediate effect, the Uttar Pradesh government had approved an ordinance, namely the “Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption From Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020” to exempt various industries from applicability of labour laws in the State for the next three years. This was done in an effort to revive the economic activities in the State amid the novel Coronavirus outbreak. All except three of the existing laws and one provision of another Act were to be removed. The decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting chaired by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath.
Under the said Ordinance, the State was to have three active laws namely , Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996, Workmen Compensation Act, 1923, Bonded Labour Act, 1976 and Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936. Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 relates to the right to receive timely wages by employees. All other Acts including Industrial Disputes Act 1947, Factories Act 1948, Trade Union Act 1926 etc. were not to be in vogue for the next three years.
The following regulations were to be followed as per the notification dated May 8th, 2020:
- Working hours for factory workers were increased from 8 to 12 hours a day
- Working hours for factory workers capped at 72 hours in a week
- The periods of work of adult workers in a factor each day shall be so fixed that no period shall exceed six hours and so that no worker shall work for more than six hours before he has had an interval for rest of at least half an hour
- Wages shall be in proportion of the existing wages (for e.g. if wages for eight hours are 80 Rs, then proportionate wages for 12 hours will be 120 Rs).
The backtracking of the said notification closely followed the notice issued by the Hon’ble High Court of Allahabad on May 14th, 2020 in response to a PIL challenging the UP Government’s decision. Following the withdrawal of the notification, the PIL has now been dismissed for being “infructuous” by the Allahabad High Court.