Labour Codes Empower States To Suspend Rules For Specified Periods In Public Interest

Two of the three labour codes passed by Lok Sabha on Tuesday give both the Centre and the states power to exempt any establishment from “all or any of the provisions” of the codes “in public interest”. This has caused fears that the workers’ rights and safety and welfare rules could be suspended by the state governments for specific periods citing exigencies. However, labour ministry sources said these are just “saving provisions” and are meant for exigencies; it is highly unlikely that these will be put into effect under normal circumstances, they added.

In fact, one of the Codes —the Code on Industrial Relations (IR Code)— also protects notifications already issued by state governments under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and says that such notification shall “remain in force after such commencement for its remaining period as if the provisions of this Code have not been brought into force…”

The IR Code inter alia deals with trade unions and working conditions. The Occupation, Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code deals with working hours (limited at 8 hours, and any overtime requires workers’ consent and wages have to be doubled), leave and working conditions such as lighting, ventilation, and other welfare facilities such as separate toilets for male, female and transgender employees.

Source: Financial Express

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