From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NA
Mains level : Labour welfare initiatives
- One of the biggest economic fallout of the pandemic has been the deteriorating labour market conditions.
- In the years ahead when the health crisis subsides and the economy witnesses a rebound, the healing of the labour market may take some more time. This is because the impact of recovery on this market is always felt with a lag.
- Given the ebb and flow of the pandemic, the growth recovery is likely to be fragmented and will weigh on the number and types of jobs available.
- Labour welfare relates to taking care of the well-being of workers by employers, trade unions, governmental and non-governmental institutions and agencies.
- Welfare includes anything that is done for the comfort and improvement of employees and is provided over and above the wages.
What are labour rights?
- Labour rights or workers’ rights are both legal rights and human rights relating to labour relations between workers and employers. These rights are codified in national and international labour and employment law. In general, these rights influence working conditions in relations of employment.
Why labour law is needed
- Labour law aims to correct the imbalance of power between the worker and the employer; to prevent the employer from dismissing the worker without good cause; to set up and preserve the processes by which workers are recognized as ‘equal’ partners in negotiations about their working conditions etc.
- Article 41 – The state shall within the limits of its economic capacity and development make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of underserved want.
- Article 42 – The state shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
Necessity for welfare
- There were only 25 million during the initial period of industrial growth, while the strength of the workers is increasing year after year and hence, need for a mechanism to look into the welfare of the labour.
- Workers put in long hours of work in unhealthy surrounding and the drudgery of the factory work continues to have adverse effect. To counter these welfare measures were felt necessary.
- As a result of hardwork, they fall prey to alchoholism, gambling and other immoral activities results in absenteeism and other problems in the organisation. Hence the need was felt.
Scope for labour welfare in India
- Contribute to the productivity of labour and efficiency of the enterprise.
- Raise the standard of living of workers by indirectly reducing the burden on their purse.
- Be in tune and harmony with similar services obtaining in a neighbouring community where an enterprise is situated.
- Be based on an intelligent prediction of the future needs of industrial work and be so designed as to offer a cushion to absorb the shock of industrialization and urbanization
- Be administratively viable and essentially development in outlook.
Government steps in this direction
- Social Security Measures: The social security measures would help man to face the contingencies as such it is difficult for him either to work or to get work and support himself and his family. Thus social security measure provides a self balancing social insurance or assistance from public funds.
- Social Insurance: is described as the giving in return for contribution, benefits up to subsistence level, as of right and without a means test, so that an individual may build freely upon it.
- Social Assistance: is provided as an supplement to social insurance for those needy persons who cannot get social insurance payments and is offered after a means test.
- Public Service: is a programme constituting the third main type of social security. They are financed directly by the government from its general revenues in form of cash payments or services to every member of the community falling within a defined category.
Case study of Finland
- Universal basic income pilot project: For two years Finland’s government gave 2,000 unemployed citizens €560 a month with no strings attached. It was the first nationwide basic income experiment. The concept is slowly becoming difficult for people to ignore.
Challenges in labour welfare in India
- Technical glitches: Under the Constitution of India, Labour is a subject in the concurrent list where both the Central and State Governments are competent to enact legislation. As a result, a large number of labour laws have been enacted catering to different aspects of labour e.g. occupational health, safety, employment etc.
- Loopholes: Because of the predominantly heavy-handed labour regulations (also called as Inspector Raj) with exploitable gaps, the MNCs and domestic organizations have resorted to alternate ways i.e. employing contract labour at less than half the payroll of a permanent employee.
- Gaps in labour laws: One of the main reasons for labour reforms is the concept of contract labour. Trade Unions suggest that this concept itself should be removed. There is stringent hiring and firing process defined in Industry Disputes Act. It makes it mandatory for the organization to seek Government permission before removing an employee.
- Labour Welfare helps labourers improve their working conditions, providing social security and raising their standard of living.
- Raise the employee’s morale use the workforce more effectively besides removing dissatisfaction help to develop loyalty in workers towards the organization.
Q.What is labour welfare according to you? Why it is needed? Explain the challenges in front of Indian labour reforms.