The Lok Sabha passed three labour law bills recently which has been getting mixed responses from politicians as well as the general public. While most businesses are happy with the newly introduced laws, some business and economic analysts have a different opinion. They say that the newly reformed bills give employers way too much freedom when it comes to hiring and firing employees. While both sides can make counter arguments about the benefits and drawbacks of these new labour laws, it has to be noted that one of the primary objectives behind the implementation of these laws was to make the existent labour laws less rigid and make it easier for businesses to strengthen the safety net of workers. With that being the case, lets’ take a look at the three new labour codes and how it is going to impact the workers.
- First one is the Industrial Relations Code or IR Code 2020 which basically allows businesses that have up to 300 workers to retrench and close establishments without the approval from the government. The previous limit for this was companies that have up to 100 employees and with the IR Code 2020 in place, more companies can take advantage of this freedom. Looking from the perspective of employees, this is a massive disadvantage owing to the fact that companies that have up to 300 workers can shut shop without the need of having any prior approval from the government bodies. The IR Code 2020 also offers the legal framework for fixed term employments and also the ease in which now companies can fire their contract workers.
- The second one is the Social Security Code which proposes the formation of a National Social Security Board which will have the responsibility to create appropriate schemes for gig, unorganized, and platform workers. The Social Security Code will include these workers into the wide array of social security schemes such as health and maternity benefits, provident funds, and life and disability insurance to name a few. Looking from a workers’ standpoint this is a step in the right direction owing to the fact that the security issues faced by these workers in the workplace were often an overlooked topic. The code also talks about creating a separate social security fund that will offer social security sums to all gig, unorganized and platform workers.
- The third and final one is the Occupation Safety Code which particularly focuses on women employees. Under this code, women employees can only be permitted to work night shifts under certain conditions that include working hours, safety, holidays, and the employee consent. The code also proposes that journey allowances are to be paid to the employee that will enable them to travel between the employment location and the employees’ native place. The Occupation Safety Code also incorporates the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act of 1979 (regulation of employment and conditions of service), along with various other 13 acts. Again, looking from an employee perspective, the Occupation Safety Code brings in a positive change especially for migrant workers and women employees who are asked to work at night.
While there are more to these three new labour laws than mentioned above, the above-mentioned are some of the important implications that as you can see gives mixed feelings. Whatever said and done, these laws have evident positive and potential negative impacts when looking from a workers’ standpoint which might make it hard to have an obvious positive or negative assumption.