Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Private Member’s Bill to allow employees to ignore calls after work

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Right to Disconnect Bill, 2018

Mains level:  Employee Welfare measures in India


News

  • A Member of Parliament has introduced a Private Member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha to give employees the right to not respond to communication from employers outside of office hours.

Why such move?

  1. Studies have found that if an employee is expected to be available round the clock, they tend to exhibit risks of over-work like sleep deprivation, developing stress and being emotionally exhausted.
  2. This persistent urge to respond to calls and e-mails (termed as ‘telepressure’), constant checking of e-mails throughout the day, and even on weekends and holidays, is reported to have destroyed work-life balance of employees.

Right to Disconnect Bill, 2018

  1. The Bill is to “establish an Employees’ Welfare Authority to confer the right on every employee to disconnect from work-related telephone calls and emails beyond work hours and on holidays.
  2. It calls for the Right to Refuse to answer calls and emails outside work hours and for all matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  3. It means that while the employer may contact the worker after work hours, the employee is not obliged to reply or shall have the right to refuse to answer such calls.
  4. Further, in case an employee refuses to reply any call during out-of-work hours, such employee shall not be subject to any disciplinary action by the employer.
  5. Non-adherence would lead to penalties of one per cent of the total employee remuneration.

Various Provisions

Overtime Wages

  • If an employee works beyond work hours which are mutually agreed — he/she shall be entitled to overtime at the normal wage rate.

Digital Detox

  • The Bill states that the government is entitled to provide employees counselling, digital detox centres, and similar resources “to free an employee from digital distractions and enable him to truly connect with the people around him.

Employee Welfare Authority

  1. An Employee Welfare Authority will be set up, including IT, Communication and Labour ministers, under the Bill which.
  2. Besides publishing a study regarding the impact of digital tools beyond work hours and yearly reports, the authority is required to outline a charter outlining employee-employer negotiations.
  3. Companies with more than 10 employees would periodically negotiate specific terms with their workers, publish their own charter, and create an Employee Welfare Committee consisting of representatives of the company’s workforce.

Back2Basics

Private member’s bill

  1. Members of Parliament other than ministers are called private members and bills presented by them are known as private member’s bills.
  2. A private member bill can be introduced by both ruling party and opposition MPs.
  3. They can introduce a bill in the parliament after giving prior notice of one month.
  4. The bill needs to be passed in both houses of parliament.
  5. Once passed in both the houses, bill needs to get assent of the president to become an act.
  6. By set tradition, President can easily exercise his absolute veto power against such bills.
  7. In Lok Sabha, the last two and a half hours of a sitting on every Friday are generally allotted for transaction of “Private Members’ Business”, i.e., Private Members’ Bills and Private Members’ Resolutions.
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