The year 2019 and 2020 saw the unification of the Indian labour laws into 4 labour codes segregating 29 central laws into 4 segments. This consolidation of laws as we know aims at bringing in ease of doing business.
As India nears the implementation of the codes, we brought to you snapshots of the codes in the last couple of weeks.
Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019
This is a code to consolidate and amend the laws regulating the Occupational safety and health and working conditions of the persons employed in an establishment. The Act replaces 13 old central labour laws.
Please find the highlights of the code below.
- The limit of female workers for the purpose of creating a creche facility for children below 6 years of age, would increase to 50 female workers from 30 currently.
- Workers employed in Transport, Sales Promotion and Journalism have special work hour and leave requirements specified.
- The Code has made maximum registration process to be initiated electronically and hence a minimum of physical contact exists.
- The establishment employing 100 workers will be responsible to provide a canteen facility, a reduction from the current limit of 250.
- As per The Factories Act, if any establishment has 500 or more workers than the occupier should appoint welfare officers but post-implementation of this Code, the limit shall be reduced to 250 employees.
- The Central Government has reserved its power to make regulation for the general safety and health of persons in the event of a declaration of an epidemic, pandemic or disaster. This has not to be affected by any other law for the time being in force.
- Contrary to earlier provisions women workers are entitled to be employed in all establishments for all type of work including hazardous process subject to the conditions that the government may require the employer to provide adequate safeguards prior to their employment in hazardous or dangerous operations.
- Provisions have been made for the employment of female employees for working beyond 7 pm till 6 am with their consent and conditions relating to safety, holiday, working hours.
- Workers cannot be required to work for more than 6 days/week and will be entitled to one day off for every 20 days of work & one day off every week
- Elaborative provisions related to inter-state migrant workers, employers of plantations and liabilities of contractors has been inserted in considering it gives leverage to either side.
- The employer in the construction business cannot hire workers with defective vision, deafness, or a tendency for giddiness if there’s a risk of an accident.
- Key definitions of terms like Wages, Banking Company and Core Activity of an Establishment has been inserted.
License & Registration
Establishments covered by the Code are required to register within 60 days (of the commencement of the Code) electronically to the registering officers appointed by the Central or State government. Further, some establishments such as factories and mines, and those hiring workers such as Beedi and Cigar workers, may be required to obtain additional licenses to operate.
In its attempt to consolidate multiple labour laws, the OSHWC Code has simplified multiple procedural aspects, making compliance of laws easier. However, the flip side of these unique aspects of the Code, is that they significantly impact the working conditions, leaving workers more vulnerable.
- Unification of Registration and Licensing.
- Excessive Delegation of Rule-Making for Mandatory Standards.
- Possible Separation of Contract Labour and Inter-State Migrant Workers.