India and its labour laws
- INFORMATION ON LABOUR LAW
Employment law, a separate area of law that defends workers’ rights, is also known as labour law. Given that the Republic of India has a federal system of government, the Indian Constitution places labour matters on its concurrent list, allowing both the federal government and state governments to pass laws addressing labour relations and employment-related issues. Because there was a plentiful supply of workers, they were unable to negotiate fair terms and conditions of employment with their employers. Most of the time, employers who were aware of their power used to set their own terms. In contrast, employees who were aware of their frailty and dependence on the employer for survival were forced by economic necessity to accept those unfair terms and conditions. However, intervening wherever necessary puts the relationship on an equitable footing. This led to the progress of labour laws in India.
More than 125 years have passed since the beginning of Indian labour law. Several labour laws covering every facet of industrial employment have been passed since the 1850 Apprentice Act, which allowed orphaned children to work once they turned 18 years old. The application of labour laws affects not only the working conditions in industrial facilities but also industrial relations, pay distribution, registration of labour unions, certification of standing orders, and other issues.
Article 16(1) of the Indian Constitution ensures equal opportunity to all citizens in matters relating to employment or “appointment to any office” under the state in the case of public employment. No citizen may be subjected to discrimination or be denied employment or office by the state based on their religion, race, caste, origin, ancestry, place of birth, or residence, or any combination of these grounds, as stated in Article 16(2). Equal employment opportunity requires selection. Employment opportunity equality refers to the degree of similarity between members of the same class of workers rather than the degree of similarity between members of different, independent classes.
- CURRENT CODES:
The Code on Wages, notified in August 2019, subsumes the provisions of four laws — Payment of Wages Act, the Minimum Wages Act, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act. It applies to all establishments and to all employees in both organised and unorganised sectors.
Nine statutes are merged into the Code on Social Security, which gives the Center the authority to announce various social security programmes including the EPF, EPS, and ESI for the benefit of workers in all industries. Additionally, it gives the Center the authority to create any additional programmes for family members of self-employed, unorganised, gig, and platform employees.
The Code on Industrial Relations combines three previous laws and broadens the definition of a worker to encompass anyone working in physical, technical, operational, and clerical jobs, whether they are skilled or unskilled. Additionally, individuals working in managerial positions and making less than Rs. 18,000 per month have been included in the criteria.
- UPCOMING UPDATES ON LABOUR LAWS:
According to an official, the four categories would cover pay, social security, workplace safety and welfare, and labour relations. The Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation Act, the Maternity Benefits Act, the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, and the Employees’ Compensation Act are among the social security-related laws that are anticipated to be combined to form a single social security law or code. According to an official, the four categories would cover pay, social security, workplace safety and welfare, and labour relations. The Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation Act, the Maternity Benefits Act, the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, and the Employees’ Compensation Act are all social security-related laws that are anticipated to be enforced.
The industrial safety and welfare laws will be combined into one category. This will include laws about minimum wages, bonuses, and other benefits for workers. The Labour Code will help to manage industrial disputes by combining the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946. The new labour law will help investors and is expected to help speed up economic growth.
Written by Aakash Anand & Sabhay Sapra
First-year B.Com. LL.B. (Hons) & BBA LL.B (Hons)
The Jindal Global Law School