Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is to spare no effort to push through some key labour reforms this year and is expected to get Parliament’s permission on at least two codes on wages as well as industrial relations before going to general elections.
The labour ministry is already in the process of seeking the Union Cabinet’s approval on an amended Wage Code Bill after its screening by the parliamentary standing committee so that it could be pushed for passage in Parliament. The Code on Wages Bill, introduced in 2017, enables the Central government to set benchmark minimum wages for different regions across the country.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment is also keen to push the passage of Code on Industrial Relations, in the run-up to the 2019 election. However, the ministry has decided to remove certain provisions in the bill, drawing criticism from trade unions.
The Ministry has taken steps for formulating four labour codes on wages; industrial relations; social security and welfare; and occupational safety, health and working conditions by amalgamating, simplifying, and rationalising the relevant provisions of the existing central labour laws.
In addition to the codes on wages, the Ministry is also pushing for subsidising paid maternity leave under a new programme to encourage employers to employ women.
The Ministry has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Italy for training and education in the fields of labour and employment. It has also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Brazil, the Russian Federation, and South Africa, regarding Cooperation in the Social and Labour Sphere. The five countries are members of the BRICS association of major emerging national economies. The memorandum would facilitate member countries to share knowledge and also implement joint programmes on matters of labour and employment, social security and social dialogue.
Furthermore, the Ministry also included the category of ‘Fixed Term Employment Workman’ for all sectors in the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
Source: Staffing Industry