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

The shaky foundation of the labour law reforms

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : One Nation One Ration Card

Mains level : Paper 2- Labour law reforms in issues in implementation

Context

The central government has deferred the possible date of implementation of labour codes to October 1, 2021, prolonging the wait before employers and workers could enjoy the benefits extended by the labour codes.

Labour law reforms: Key provisions

  • The government enacted the Code on Wages in August 2019 and the other three Codes, viz., the Industrial Relations Code, the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code and Code on Social Security (CSS) in September 2020.
  • Universal minimum wage: The codes would extend universal minimum wages and social security, enable enhanced industrial safety and the provision of social security to gig workers, among other things.
  • Recognition of trade unions: The Industrial Relations Code provides for recognition of trade union(s) by employers, a labour right that eluded workers for seven decades.
  • Flexibility to employers: Employers celebrated the extension of tremendous flexibility to them, even those unasked, such as relief from framing standing orders for most firms.
  • The central government has deferred the possible date of implementation to October 1, 2021.

Issues in implementation

  • State’s have not issued draft rules: Major States such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Haryana and Delhi have not issued the draft rules under any codes.
  • Even though the Code on Wages was enacted in August 2019, it was only in March 2021 that the central government notified the constitution of an advisory committee.
  • Safety concerns persist:  Industrial safety continues to be a grave concern even after the enactment of the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code.
  • Lack of clarity on the determination of minimum wage: On June 3, 2021, the government announced an expert committee with a tenure of three years to advise on minimum wages.
  • Then, on July 12, 2021, the government announced that the wage index’s base year would be shifted from 1965 to 2019 to use the revised wage index to determine minimum wages.
  • The Government seems to be facing difficulty regarding the implementation of minimum wages.

Conclusion

Despite the gazetting of four Codes, age-old laws are in force. That reflects poorly on the governance abilities of the governments.

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