The Code on Wages (passed in Parliament in August, 2019), the Industrial Relations Code, the Code on Social Security, and the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (all passed on September 22 and 23, 2020 in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha) have not yet been implemented.
Views of stakeholders:
- The Centre claims that the four codes are a major step in the process of labour reforms.
- The central trade unions (CTUs) have held three general strikes against the codes so far, alleging that the codes will result in taking away whatever little social and economic security is left in the employment sector.
- The farmers’ organisations had also supported the trade unions in their protests.
- The employers’ associations, had mixed feeling towards the codes, but had generally welcomed them.
- The government says the delay in implementation is due to the delay in framing rules by the States. As labour is a concurrent subject, both the States and the Centre will have to prepare rules for the codes.
- Pushing out a large section of the workforce: According to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, the code will push out a large section of the workforce out of the coverage of all labour laws.
- For instance, the 2019 bill for Code on Industrial Relations, provided that all industrial establishment with 100 workers or more must prepare standing orders on the matters listed in a Schedule to the Code. However, this provision was later made applicable to establishments with at least 300 workers.
- Registration and working of central trade unions: The BMS have concerns on Codes on Industrial Relations, specifically on the provisions for the registration and working of central trade unions.
- Expansion of social security network: CII and FCII had expressed reservations about the proposal for increasing the minimum wages and expanding the social security network by involving the employers too.
- The SP Mukherjee committee, which is working towards the issue of minimum wages, is yet to complete its task. Setting a national minimum wage is important in the implementation of the Code on Wages.
- Economic slowdown: The employers are worried that further increase in the salary bill will hamper their profits in a recession-hit economy and they expect the government to hold more discussions.
- Constitute committee: The Government should constitute a tripartite or multipartite committee, an anomaly committee like the Pay Commission.
- Purpose: This committee could review the Codes taking into account demands of both the parties and introduce multiple amendments so that the Codes satisfies both the parties and aid industrial growth as well as labour welfare.
- The Code on Social Security, 2020: Under this, the aggregators employing gig workershave to contribute 1-2 per cent of annual turnover for social security, with the total contribution not exceeding 5 per cent of the amount payable by the aggregator.
- The Industrial Relations Code, 2020: It includes classification of workers, manner of informing workers about work hours, holidays, paydays, and wage rates, termination of employment, and grievance redressal mechanisms for workers.
- Code on Wages, 2019:It proposes to fix the national Floor Level Minimum Wage, pegs basic pay at 50 per cent of gross salary and redefine the break-up of wages to increase the share of the basic pay component to enable higher provision for social security such as Employees’ Provident Fund for establishments, especially in the service sector.
- The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020: It spells out the duties of employers and employees, and envisages safety standards for different sectors, focusing on the health and working condition of workers, hours of work, leaves, etc.
- It also recognises the right of contractual workers and provides for statutory benefits like social security and wages to fixed-term employees at par with their permanent counterparts.
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