The Labour Ministry has started its year with an ambitious plan to implement all the four new labour codes in FY 2022-23. The four labour codes — the Code on Wages, Industrial Relations Code, Social Security Code and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code — are set to replace 29 labour laws.
These codes are expected to impact aspects of employment and work culture, such as take-home salaries, working hours and number of weekdays. Setting up National Social Security Fund to cover over 38 crore informal sector workers and improve the ease of doing business is among the top agendas for the Labour Ministry for the year 2022.
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Since Labour is a concurrent subject, both the Centre and the states are required to notify rules under the four codes to ensure that the laws are enforced in the respective jurisdictions.
These codes empower the central government, state governments, and other relevant authorities to make rules, which must be published in their official gazettes for a period of 30 or 45 days to enable public consultation.
Center has already finalized rules under these codes in February 2021 and a large number of States have also finalized draft rules that would be implemented in the coming fiscal year.
Speaking on the progress of implementation, Union Labour Minister, Bhupendra Yadav earlier previous month told Rajya Sabha that, the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code is the only code on which the least number of 13 states have pre-published the draft rules.
The highest number of draft notifications are pre-published on The Code on Wages by 24 states/UTs followed by The Industrial Relations Code (by 20 states) and The Code on Social Security (18) states.
The central government has notified four labour codes, namely, the Code on Wages, 2019, on August 8, 2019, and the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, the Code on Social Security, 2020, and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 on September 29, 2020.
Some provisions of these codes have also invited criticism, including the one which allows firms with up to 300 workers to go ahead with retrenchment and closure without the government permission.
However, experts believe that these reforms will pave way for the welfare of workers in both organised and unorganised sectors. They will go a long way in addressing the workers’ concerns and that of the companies too.