Parliament passes three labour code Bills

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday (September 23) passed the three historic and path-breaking labour bills including the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, the Industrial Relations Code 2020 and the Code on Social Security, 2020.

In 2014, the Modi government started incorporating all labor laws into four labor code bills.
Out of a total of 44 labor laws, a total of 12 laws were already included in it. 29 laws are now included in the four labor codes. The first Code on Wages Bill was passed by the House in August 2019 itself. It was through this law that the government gave legal rights to 50 crore workers across the country to get minimum wages and timely wages. Now in this session, the central government introduced the remaining three labour codes afresh on social security, industrial relations and occupational safety in the Lok Sabha

The Labor Ministry accepted 174 recommendations out of 233 in these after study. 9 labor laws are included in the Social and Occupational Safety Code. 13 labor laws are included in the Health and Work Condition Code 2020
30 labor laws have been included in the Industrial Relations Code Bill 2020.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Lok Sabha passed three labour codes amid a boycott of the House proceedings by several Opposition parties. The government emphasised that these codes will provide salary security, social security and proper environment at workplaces to 50 crore workers.

Now a provision is being made to create a data bank of migrant labourers and arrangements are being made that migrant labourers should be given travel allowance once a year to go to their original place of residence.

Opposition leaders like Congress parliamentarians Manish Tewari and Shashi Tharoor, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) of Kerala parliamentarian N.K. Premachandran objected to the introduction of these bills and underlined that since the government has introduced new bills, they should have gone for fresh consultations with all stakeholders before introducing them in the House.

The Labor Minister said that in the current law, the amount of the fine in the event of an accident used to go completely to the government’s account but in the new law it has been said that 50 percent of the amount of the penalty should be given to the victim.

  • In the last six years, Gangwar said the government has taken several steps for employees such as an increase in maternity leave period to 26 weeks, allowing women to work in the mines sector and pension scheme for small traders.
  • For the first time, a code has mentioned about the provision of providing appointment letters to workers, he said, adding that now a worker would get at least 50 per cent of the penalty in addition with compensation in accidental cases.
  • Talking about Industrial Relations Code, Gangwar said there will be no threshold limit for implementation of the code as it will cover all organisations even if it will have one labour. He noted that fixed-term employment would get all benefits at par with regular employees.
  • The minister said the provision of 14 days notice before going for a strike would help management and workers to resolve differences.
  • Gangwar said that raising the threshold for closure, retrenchment and layoff without government permission for units having up to 300 employees will help in attracting investors and creating jobs.
    -Gangwar said, “we have included people working in the digital media sector under the category of a working journalist.”

Following the Minister’s reply, the House approved the Bills relating to the three Labor Codes by voice. Gangwar said in the Lok Sabha that for the first time in the 73-year history, changes are being made in the labor laws in this way, which will prove beneficial for both employers and workers.

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