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Labour Law Notes and Study Material

When studying for exams or delving deeper into the subject of Labour Law, having comprehensive and well-organized notes and study materials can make a significant difference. Labour law, also known as employment law, encompasses the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents that govern the legal rights and restrictions of workers and their organizations. Understanding these facets is crucial for students, legal practitioners, and policymakers alike.

Labour Law in India has evolved significantly, stemming from the industrialization period and addressing the demand for better working conditions and fair treatment of workers. Over time, it has grown to encompass a wide range of protections and regulations to ensure equitable employment practices. Key legislation includes the Factories Act 1948, the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, and the Trade Union Act 1926, which have established foundational labour rights and dispute resolution mechanisms.

In this blog post, we aim to provide you with essential notes and study materials that cover key areas of Labour Law. These resources are designed to help you grasp the fundamental concepts, navigate through legal texts, and prepare effectively for your exams. From the historical background and purpose of labour laws to detailed discussions on specific acts like the Minimum Wages Act, the Payment of Wages Act, and the Industrial Relations Code, we offer a structured overview that caters to both beginners and advanced learners.

Join us as we explore the intricate world of Labour Law, offering insights and clarity to support your academic and professional journey.

Introduction

Labour refers to productive work, particularly physical work, done for wages. Labour law, also known as employment law, encompasses the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents that govern the legal rights and restrictions of workers and their organizations. It addresses key issues such as minimum wage, working hours, safety standards, anti-discrimination laws, and the right to organize and bargain collectively, ensuring fair treatment and protection for workers.

Labour law, also known as employment law, maintains the relationship between trade unions, employers, and employees.

Definition

  • Rights and obligations of workers, union members, and employers in the workplace.

Evolution of Labour Law

The evolution of labour law in India stems from the industrialization period, addressing the demand for better working conditions and fair treatment of workers. Over time, it has grown to encompass a wide range of protections and regulations to ensure equitable employment practices. Key milestones include the introduction of laws like the Factories Act, 1948, and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which established foundational labour rights and dispute resolution mechanisms.The law evolved to fulfill the demands of workers for better working conditions.

Purpose of Labour Law

  1. Good employment relationships.
  2. Maintaining harmony in industrial relations.
  3. Interaction between workers and representatives.

Brief About Different Labour Laws

1. The Industrial Dispute Act, 1947

  • Ensures industrial peace and harmony.
  • Settlement of disputes by conciliation, arbitration, and adjudication.
  • Maintains peaceful work culture.

2. The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946

  • Defines employment conditions.
  • Applicable to establishments with 50 or more workers.

3. The Trade Union Act, 1926

  • Voluntary organization of workers in trade, industry, or company.
  • Protects workers’ interests and improves employer-employee relations.
  • Came into force on June 1, 1927.

4. The Employees Compensation Act, 1923

  • Financial protection for workers and dependents in case of work-related injuries or death.
  • Applicable to factories, mines, docks, construction establishments, plantations, and oil fields (Schedule II and III).

5. The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948

  • Provides economic security in case of sickness, maternity, or injury.
  • Applicable to certain factories and establishments.

6. The Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provision Act, 1952

  • Welfare scheme for employees.
  • Both employer and employee contribute to the provident fund.
  • Accumulated amount is given at retirement.

7. The Minimum Wages Act, 1948

  • Central and State Governments can fix the minimum wage.
  • Ensures wages include basic needs such as food, shelter, and medical assistance.

8. The Payment of Wages Act, 1936

  • Regulates payment of wages, wage periods, and deductions.
  • Applicable to factories, railways, and other establishments.

9. The Factories Act, 1948

  • Ensures health and safety in factories.
  • Applicable to factories with 10 or more workers (using power) or 20 or more workers (not using power).

10. The Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951

  • Includes licensing of industries.
  • Protects development of important industries listed in Schedule 1.

11. The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965

  • Regulates bonus payments based on profit and productivity.
  • Applicable to establishments with 20 or more employees.

12. The Apprentices Act, 1961

  • Provides practical training for technically qualified persons.
  • Minimum age of 14 years (18 years for trades with safety concerns).

13. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

  • Regulates employment of women before and after childbirth.
  • Provides maternity leave and benefits.

14. The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972

  • Provides a lump sum payment to employees upon leaving an organization.
  • Applicable to establishments with 10 or more employees.

15. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986

  • Prohibits employment of children under 14 in hazardous occupations.
  • Regulates employment of adolescents (14-18 years) in non-hazardous jobs.

16. The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976

  • Ensures equal pay for equal work regardless of gender.
  • Case: People’s Union of Democratic Republic v. Union of India, 1982.

17. The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976

  • Abolishes bonded labour arising from loans or debts.
  • Provides rehabilitation grants for bonded laborers.

18. The Social Security Code, 2020:

  • Aims to consolidate and amend laws relating to social security, including provident fund, insurance, gratuity, maternity benefits, and employee compensation.

19. The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020:

  • Consolidates and amends laws regulating occupational safety, health, and working conditions of persons employed in establishments.

20. The Industrial Relations Code, 2020:

  • Consolidates and amends laws relating to trade unions, conditions of employment in industrial establishments, and settlement of industrial disputes.

21. The Code on Wages, 2019:

  • Consolidates laws relating to wages, bonus, and equal remuneration, and aims to simplify the process of determining and regulating wages.

Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

Introduction: The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, regulates labour laws in India and came into force on April 1, 1947. Its primary objective is to promote peace and harmony by addressing industrial disputes between parties and resolving issues amicably.

Causes of Industrial Dispute:

  • Wages and allowances: Disagreements over salary and benefits.
  • Personnel policies: Conflicts regarding hiring, promotion, and transfer policies.
  • Retrenchment: Disputes arising from job cuts or layoffs.
  • Lay off: Issues related to temporary dismissal of workers.
  • Working hours and leave: Conflicts over working hours, overtime, and leave policies.
  • Bonus: Disputes over bonus payments and their distribution.
  • Indiscipline and violence: Workplace unrest due to misconduct or violence.
  • Inter-union rivalry: Conflicts between different worker unions.
  • Non-implementation of awards or agreements: Failure to honor agreed-upon settlements or arbitration awards.
  • Non-fulfillment of demands: Employer’s refusal to meet workers’ demands.
  • Workload and standards: Disputes over the amount and quality of work expected.
  • Surplus labour: Issues arising from having more workers than needed.
  • Working conditions: Conflicts due to poor or unsafe working environments.
  • Changes in manufacturing processes: Disputes due to alterations in production methods.
  • Violation of rules or codes: Breach of established workplace regulations.
  • Shift work: Issues related to night shifts or rotating shifts.
  • Political motives: Disputes driven by political influences or agendas.
  • Closure or lockouts: Employer’s decision to close down operations or lock out workers.
  • Communication issues: Poor communication leading to misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Refusal to recognize unions: Employer’s refusal to acknowledge or negotiate with unions.
  • Authoritarian management: Conflicts due to rigid and uncompromising management styles.
  • Non-implementation of labour laws: Failure to adhere to statutory labor regulations.

Definitions:

  1. Industrial Dispute: A dispute between employers and employees or among employees concerning employment terms, conditions, or non-employment.
  2. Workman: Any individual engaged in manual, skilled, unskilled, technical, operational, administrative, or supervisory work for hire, excluding certain categories such as those in the armed forces, police, managerial positions, and those earning above a specified salary.
  3. Layoff: The inability or refusal of an employer to provide employment due to various reasons such as lack of resources or breakdown of machinery.
  4. Closure: The permanent shutting down of an establishment or its part.
  5. Strike: A concerted cessation of work by employees to enforce demands.
  6. Lockout: The temporary closure of a workplace by the employer to resist employee demands.
  7. Retrenchment: Termination of a workman’s service by the employer for reasons other than disciplinary action, voluntary retirement, superannuation, or ill health.

Authorities under the Act:

  1. Works Committee (Sec. 3): Comprising representatives of employers and workers in establishments with 100 or more workers to promote good relations and address common concerns.
  2. Conciliation Officer (Sec. 4): Appointed to mediate and promote settlement of industrial disputes.
  3. Boards of Conciliation (Sec. 5): Formed to mediate disputes, consisting of a chairman and 2-4 independent members.
  4. Courts of Inquiry (Sec. 6): Constituted to investigate industrial disputes.
  5. Labour Courts (Sec. 7): Consist of one person, usually a judge, to adjudicate specific industrial disputes.
  6. Industrial Tribunals (Sec. 7A): Constituted to adjudicate more complex disputes, consisting of a person who has been a High Court judge or possesses significant legal experience.
  7. National Tribunals (Sec. 7B): Established for disputes of national importance, consisting of a person who has been a High Court judge.

Cases:

  1. Anandabazar Patrika v. Their Employees: The court ruled that Gupta was a workman at the time of his retirement, and the company’s action against him was against service conditions.
  2. Awaz Prakashan Private Ltd. v. Pramod Kumar Pujari: The court found that the retrenchment of Pramod Kumar Pujari did not comply with the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
  3. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board v. R. Rajappa: The Supreme Court laid down the “triple test” to define an industry, requiring systematic activity, employer-employee cooperation, and production/distribution of goods and services.
  4. Bombay Union of Journalists vs. The Hindu: The Supreme Court held that the Bombay Union of Journalists was not competent to raise a dispute on behalf of the employee as it did not constitute an industrial dispute.
  5. Workmen of Indian Express Newspapers Ltd. vs. Management Indian Express Newspapers: The court ruled that the Delhi Union of Journalists had a representative character and could transform the dispute into an industrial dispute.
  6. General Labour Union (Red Flag) vs. B. V. Chavan and Ors: The Supreme Court declared that imposing and continuing a lockout deemed illegal under the Act constitutes unfair labor practice.
  7. South India Corporation Ltd. v. All Kerala Cashew Nut Factory Workers’ Federation: The court held that the Tribunal has no authority to grant relief based on notions of social justice if the establishment is not covered by Chapter V-A.

The Trade Union Act

The Trade Union Act of 1926 was formulated to regulate relations between workmen and employers, ensure lawful association of workers, and govern trade union registration.

Central Trade Unions: The Act recognizes several central trade unions like AITUC, BMS, CITU, and others.

Objectives: Trade unions aim to regulate wages, working conditions, discipline, personnel policies, and safeguard industry interests.

Definitions:

  • Office-bearer: Includes members of a trade union’s executive, excluding auditors.
  • Registrar: Appointed by the government, responsible for trade union registration.
  • Trade Dispute: Any dispute between employers, workmen, or related to employment conditions.
  • Workmen: All persons employed in trade or industry, regardless of specific employer affiliation.
  • Trade Union: A combination formed to regulate relationships between workmen, employers, or impose trade-related conditions.

Registration Process: Involves applying to the registrar with at least seven members, submitting union rules, and providing member details.

Registration and Certificate: The registrar registers unions meeting criteria and issues a certificate as proof of registration.

Cancellation and Appeals: Registration can be canceled for various reasons, and appeals can be made against registrar decisions.

Name Changes, Amalgamation, and Dissolution: Allows for changing names, amalgamating unions, and procedures for dissolution and fund distribution.

Cases:

These cases highlight important aspects related to trade unions and their legal implications:

1. M.T. Chandersenan v Sukumaran:

  • Importance: Subscription payment and membership in a trade union.
  • Ruling: Failure to pay subscription as per by-laws may lead to non-membership, but denial of membership cannot be based on unjustifiable reasons.

2. ACC Rajanka Limestone Quarries Mazdoor Union v Registrar of Trade Union:

  • Importance: Timely action by the Registrar on trade union applications.
  • Ruling: If the Registrar delays action on an application for more than three months, legal recourse through a writ under Article 226 can be sought to prompt action.

3. Blacke v Smither:

  • Importance: Dissolution of a registered trade union and fund distribution.
  • Ruling: In cases where a registered trade union dissolves without provisions for fund distribution in its rules, the Registrar is responsible for dividing the funds among members as per prescribed methods.

The Employees Compensation Act

The Employees Compensation Act, 1923 is a crucial piece of legislation that aims to protect the interests of employees in various sectors.

Introduction and Applicability:

  • The Act imposes a statutory liability on employers to compensate employees for disabilities or diseases suffered during hazardous work.
  • It applies to a range of sectors including mines, factories, railways, ships, and circuses, among others.

Definitions:

  • Employers include a broad range of entities, including managing agents and legal representatives.
  • Employee is defined to cover various roles and capacities, including railway servants, ship crew members, and those employed in motor vehicles abroad by Indian companies.

Dependents:

  • Dependents include a range of relatives of a deceased employee, such as spouses, children, parents, and widowed daughters-in-law.

Types of Disablement:

  • Temporary and permanent partial disablement are distinguished based on the duration and impact on earning capacity.
  • Total disablement is categorized as temporary or permanent, depending on the nature of the injury.

Compensation:

  • The Act specifies compensation amounts for death, permanent total disablement, and permanent partial disablement, considering factors like monthly wages and the extent of disablement.

Employer’s Liability and Defenses:

  • Employers are liable to compensate employees for accidents or occupational diseases arising during employment.
  • Defenses such as willful disobedience, added peril, self-inflicted injuries, and contributory negligence are outlined.

Adjudication and Appeals:

  • Compensation is adjudicated by commissioners, with provisions for medical examinations and appeals to the High Court.
  • Time limits for disposal of cases and the power of the State Government to make rules are specified.

Penalties and Rules:

  • Penalties are imposed for non-compliance with reporting and maintenance of records.
  • The State Government is empowered to make rules regarding various aspects of the Act.

Cases:

In the case of Oriental Fire and General Insurance Co. Limited vs. Sunderbai Ramji, the Gujarat High Court determined the scope of the term “arising out of employment.” The case involved a laborer who was engaged in physically demanding work. After working for three hours, he experienced chest pain and collapsed, ultimately passing away. The commissioner concluded that the nature of his job directly caused his physical distress and death, leading to the decision that his death was work-related.

In Moondra and Co. vs. Mst. Bhawani, a truck driver, with permission from the employer, entered the tank of the truck to inspect a petrol leak. While inside, he lit a matchstick, resulting in an accident that caused severe burn injuries and his subsequent death. The court ruled that since the accident occurred during work hours and at the workplace, the dependents of the employee were entitled to compensation.

These cases highlight the importance of establishing a direct connection between the nature of the job and the injury or death when determining liability and compensation under the Employees Compensation Act, 1923. 

The Minimum Wages Act

The Minimum Wages Act, 1948 serves to protect workers from receiving unreasonably low pay, ensuring they earn enough to maintain a basic standard of living.

Definition of Terms:

  • Adolescent: A person aged between 14 and 18 years.
  • Adult: A person aged 18 years or above.
  • Child: A person below 14 years.
  • Employee: Any person hired for work in a scheduled employment under the Act.
  • Wages: All remuneration payable in monetary terms for work done, including House Rent Allowance (HRA).

Types of Wages:

  1. Minimum Wage: Provides for basic subsistence needs.
  2. Fair Wage: Any wage exceeding the minimum, maintaining employment and industry viability.
  3. Living Wage: Covers basic needs and provides for a decent standard of living.

Objectives of the Act:

  1. Fix minimum wages and revise them every five years.
  2. Ensure an adequate living wage for workers.
  3. Set daily working hours.
  4. Prevent worker exploitation.
  5. Maintain decent living standards.
  6. Penalize non-compliant employers.
  7. Establish advisory boards and powers for enforcement.
  8. Safeguard workers’ rights and provide redressal mechanisms.
  9. Empower governments to make rules under the Act.

Minimum Wage Rates:

  • Fixed by the appropriate government for time or piece work.
  • Revised every five years.
  • Includes basic wage plus cost of living allowances and essential supplies’ cash value.

Advisory Boards:

  • Appointed by the government to advise on fixing and revising minimum wage rates.

Inspectors and Penalties:

  • Inspectors ensure compliance and have powers of entry, examination, and seizure.
  • Penalties include imprisonment or fines for non-compliance.

Fixing and Revising Minimum Wages:

  • Can be done through committee advice or public notification methods.
  • Interested parties have a chance to represent their views.
  • Judicial views confirm the Act’s applicability to various employment scenarios.

These judicial views help clarify the scope and applicability of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948:

  1. Out-Worker’s Status as an Employee: In the case of Loknath Nathu Lal v. State of Madhya Pradesh, it was established that an out-worker who prepared goods at their residence and then supplied them to their employer was considered an employee under the Act. This ruling emphasizes that the Act covers workers even if they work from home or outside the employer’s premises, as long as they meet the criteria of being employed for remuneration.
  2. Various Roles as Employees: The case of Manager, S.T. Estate v. M.K. Purkayastha illustrated that employees in different roles, such as a chowkidar (security guard), an accountant, or a compounder in a tea plantation, are all considered employees under the Act. This indicates that the Act’s definition of an employee is broad and encompasses various job functions and sectors.
  3. Status of Dismissed Employees: In Chacko v. Varkey, it was clarified that even a dismissed employee retains their status as an employee for the purpose of claiming relief under the Minimum Wages Act. This highlights that the Act’s protections extend to employees regardless of their current employment status, ensuring they can still seek remedies if their rights under the Act are violated.

The Factories Act, 1948

The Factories Act, 1948, is a significant legislation aimed at safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of workers employed in factories.

  1. Introduction and Purpose: The Act was enacted to regulate various aspects of employment conditions, working conditions, and the working environment in factories. It also addresses welfare requirements specific to industrial settings.
  2. Historical Background: The Act has undergone several amendments since its inception in 1881, with significant changes made in 1948 and subsequent years to adapt to evolving industrial practices and worker welfare needs.
  3. Objectives: The primary objectives of the Factories Act, 1948, include ensuring the health and safety of workers, promoting global best practices in factories, providing decent livelihoods, and reducing social or industrial tensions.
  4. Salient Features: The Act’s key features include:
  • Expansion of the definition of “factory” to include contract labor.
  • Regulations on the employment of children, including age limits and working hours.
  • Prohibitions on women and children working during specific nighttime hours.
  • Abolishment of distinctions between seasonal and non-seasonal factories.
  • Requirements for factory registration and licensing.
  • Empowerment of state governments to enforce rules for the benefit of employees.
  • Application of the Act’s provisions to all establishments, regardless of size or nature of operations.
  • Judicial precedent highlighting the Act’s primacy over certain legal aspects.
  1. Definitions: The Act provides clear definitions for various terms crucial to its implementation, such as adult, child, adolescent, machinery, hazardous process, power, week, day, young person, factory, and manufacturing process.
  2. Health and Welfare Provisions: The Act includes detailed provisions regarding health, cleanliness, disposal of wastes, ventilation, temperature control, dust and fume removal, overcrowding prevention, lighting, drinking water facilities, restroom and urinal accommodations, spittoon maintenance, first aid provisions, canteens, shelters, creches, and more.
  3. Judicial Interpretations: Court rulings, such as Rabindra Agarwal v. State of Jharkhand, affirm the Act’s special legislative status and its precedence over other laws like the Indian Penal Code in relevant matters.

Safety Provisions (Chapter IV, Sections 21–41):

  • Prohibition of employment of young persons on dangerous machines (Section 23)
  • Prohibition of employment of women and children near cotton openers (Section 27)
  • Requirements for hoists and lifts (Section 28)
  • Protection of eyes (Section 35)
  • Precautions against dangerous fumes, gasses, etc. (Section 36)
  • Measures for explosive or inflammable substances (Section 37)
  • Precautions in case of fire (Section 38)

Penalties (Chapter X, Sections 92–99):

  • General penalties for offenses (Section 92)
  • Liability of an owner of factory premises (Section 93)
  • Enhanced penalty after previous conviction (Section 94)
  • Penalty for obstructing an inspector (Section 95)
  • Penalty for wrongfully disclosing results of analysis (Section 96)
  • Penalty for contravention of certain provisions (Section 96A)
  • Worker’s offenses (Section 97)
  • False certificate of fitness (Section 98)
  • Double employment of children (Section 99)

Duties of Various Authorities:

  • Duties of the occupier regarding notice and appointment of manager (Sections 7 and 7A)

Duties of Manufacturers (Section 7B):

  • Manufacturers must ensure that articles used in factories are constructed safely and without health risks.
  • They should conduct tests and examinations to guarantee safety and provide necessary information about product usage.
  • Importers must ensure imported articles meet safety standards similar to those in India or higher standards if applicable.
  • Manufacturers can conduct research to minimize hazards to workers’ health or safety.

Cases:

  1. Shankar Balaji Waje v. State of Maharashtra (1961): Defined the definition of a worker under the Factories Act.
  2. Shri Suresh Kumar Jalan & Ors v. State of Bihar (2011): Clarified that only managers or occupiers are held responsible for violations, not directors.
  3. P.Trivikrama Prasad v. The State of AP by its Assistant Inspector of Factories (2016): Highlighted the responsibility of the occupier or managing director in ensuring worker safety and the consequences of neglecting safety measures.

The Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951:

Introduction: The Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 aims to regulate and develop important industries in India, implement industrial policies, control industrial development, and ensure activities are in the public interest.

Scope of the Act:

  • Covers industrial undertakings where manufacturing processes occur with specific worker thresholds.
  • Excludes trading houses and financial institutions.
  • Defines terms like Scheduled Industry, Industrial Undertaking, and Factory.

Provisions of the Act:

1. Preventive Provisions:

  • Registration and Licensing: Ensures registration of industrial undertakings and issues certificates of registration.
  • Investigation: Empowers the Central Government to investigate various aspects of industrial undertakings.
  • Revocation of License: Allows revocation of registration or license under specified conditions.

2. Curative Provisions:

  • Taking over Management or Control: Authorizes takeover of management/control of specified industrial undertakings.
  • Control of Supply, Price, and Distribution: Empowers control over certain industrial undertakings for public interest.

3. Creative Provisions:

  • Encourage cooperation between the Central Government, industry, workers, and consumers for the development of scheduled industries.

Penalties:

  • Imposes penalties for contravention or false statements, including imprisonment and fines.

The Act ensures regulatory oversight, development, and compliance within the industrial sector, promoting economic stability and public welfare.

The Maternity Benefit Act

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 is a crucial legislation that safeguards the employment rights of women during their maternity period. Here are some key points and provisions from your detailed analysis:

  1. Maternity Leave Duration: The Act entitles women to 12 weeks of maternity leave, with provisions for extension in certain cases like adoption or commissioning mothers.
  2. Job Protection: Employers cannot terminate or dismiss a woman during her maternity leave, except in cases of serious wrongdoing, and must provide full wages during this period.
  3. Remuneration during Leave: Women are entitled to maternity benefits at the rate of their average daily salary for the duration of their absence.
  4. Financial Benefits: Besides maternity benefits, women may also receive a medical bonus if prenatal or postpartum care is not provided by the employer.
  5. Important Sections: Sections like 5(3) (Maternity Leave Duration), 5(4) (Adoptive and Commissioning Mothers’ Leave), 5(5) (Work from Home), and others outline specific provisions and rights.
  6. Conditions for Claiming Benefits: A woman must have worked for at least 80 days in the past 12 months to claim maternity benefits.
  7. Methods of Claiming Benefits: Women must provide written notice to their employer along with necessary documentation to claim maternity benefits.
  8. Eligibility: The Act specifies eligibility criteria based on the duration of employment.
  9. Duration of Leave: Different scenarios such as first-time mothers, women with multiple children, adoptive mothers, etc., have varying durations of maternity leave.
  10. Kind of Work: Women are protected from engaging in arduous tasks or work that may harm their health during pregnancy.
  11. Penalties for Non-Compliance: Employers face penalties if they fail to comply with the Act’s provisions, including imprisonment and fines.
  12. Impact on Employability: The 2017 Amendment has implications for employability, with concerns about increased costs for employers and potential biases in hiring practices.
  13. Maternity Benefit (Mines and Circus) Amendment Rules 2019: Additional rules and provisions exist for crèches in Mines and Circus establishments.

Cases:

1. Shah v. Presiding Officer, Labour Court Coimbatore (1978):

  • The Supreme Court emphasized the significance of laws like the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, in achieving social justice for female employees.
  • The case addressed whether Sundays, as paid holidays, should be included in the computation of maternity benefit period. The Court ruled in favor of including Sundays, citing the rule of advantageous construction to ensure women’s rights and efficiency at work.

2. Mrs. Savita Ahuja v. State of Haryana & others (1998):

  • The Punjab and Haryana High Court affirmed that temporary or ad hoc nature of employment should not deny a woman her right to maternity leave with full pay.
  • The petitioner in this case, despite being on a temporary job, was entitled to maternity leave benefits and protection against dismissal due to pregnancy.

3. Smt. Archana Panedy v. State of M.P & others (2016):

  • This case dealt with the eligibility of contractual employees for maternity leave benefits.
  • The Madhya Pradesh High Court held that contractual employees are also entitled to maternity benefits under the Maternity Benefit Act, emphasizing the constitutional requirement to provide necessary amenities for childbirth.

The Payment of Gratuity Act

The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, indeed plays a crucial role in providing social security to employees after retirement. It ensures that employees who have served for a certain period are rewarded with a gratuity amount, offering them financial support during their retired life. Here’s a concise overview of the key points you’ve covered:

Objective of the Act:

  • Provide social security to retired employees.
  • Act as a social security legislation for the wage-earning population.
  • Reward faithful employees for long-term service.
  • Impose a statutory liability on employers for payments related to disability or death due to work-related factors.

Features:

  • Applicable to employees in various sectors like factories, mines, oil fields, etc.
  • Employees with more than five years of service are eligible for gratuity.
  • Both quasi-judicial and executive bodies oversee the implementation of the Act.
  • Gratuity amount is predetermined and cannot be altered by new authorities.
  • The Controlling Authority manages gratuity approvals, payment periods, and transfers.

Functions of the Controlling Authority:

  1. Approving Gratuity Amount: The Controlling Authority approves the gratuity amount payable to employees based on the provisions of the Act and relevant calculations.
  2. Specifying Payment Period: It specifies the period within which the payment of gratuity should be made to employees.
  3. Ensuring Timely Payment: The Authority ensures that gratuity payments are transferred to employees’ accounts within thirty days from the date they become payable.

Definitions under Section 2:

  1. Appropriate Government: For establishments under central control or having branches across states, it’s the Central Government; for others, it’s the State Government.
  2. Completed Year of Service: Refers to continuous service for one year, a crucial factor in determining gratuity eligibility.
  3. Employee: Any person employed on wages in various sectors like factories, mines, railways, etc., irrespective of skill level.
  4. Family: Includes specific members depending on the gender of the employee, encompassing spouse, children, dependent parents, in-laws, etc.
  5. Superannuation: The age at which an employee is expected to retire based on contractual or service conditions.
  6. Wages: Includes all cash emoluments paid to the employee, excluding certain components like bonuses, commissions, allowances, etc.

Applicability: The Act applies to various establishments, including factories, mines, oilfields, plantations, ports, railway companies, and other notified establishments with ten or more employees.

Continuous Service: An employee is considered to be in continuous service if they have worked for a specific period, which varies depending on the nature of work (e.g., 190 days in mines, 240 days in other cases).

Calculation of Service: The Act considers various factors like lay-off periods, leaves with full wages, and maternity leaves while calculating an employee’s actual working days.

Gratuity Payment: Gratuity is payable to an employee upon termination of employment due to superannuation, retirement, resignation, death, or disablement caused by accident or illness, provided the employee has completed at least five years of continuous service.

Nomination: Employees can nominate a person to receive gratuity in case of their demise. If no nomination is made, gratuity is paid to legal heirs.

Amount of Gratuity: The gratuity amount is calculated based on fifteen days’ wages for every completed year of service, subject to a maximum limit (currently Rs. 20 lakhs).

Forfeiture of Gratuity: Gratuity can be forfeited partially or wholly in cases of employee misconduct, damage to employer property, or acts of moral turpitude.

Inspector’s Powers: Inspectors appointed under the Act have powers to demand information, inspect premises, examine records, and take necessary action against violations.

Penalties: Violations of the Act, such as non-payment of gratuity or false representations, can lead to imprisonment or fines as specified in the Act.

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 is a pivotal legislation in India aimed at addressing the social concern of child labour. Here are some key aspects of the Act and related information:

1. Main Goal: The Act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 in certain hazardous occupations and regulates working conditions in specific industries like railway transport, bidi making, carpet weaving, match manufacturing, explosives, and soap production.

2. History and Evolution:

  • 1979: The Gurupadswamy Committee was established to study and tackle child labour issues.
  • 1986: The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act was enacted.
  • 2016: The Act was amended to prohibit the employment of children below 14 years.
  • 2017: Further amendments were made, providing a broad framework against child labour.

3. Definitions and Provisions:

  • Child Definition: The amended Act defines a child as an individual below 14 years or the age specified in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, whichever is higher.
  • Adolescent Definition: An adolescent is defined as someone who has completed 14 years but not 18 years.
  • Prohibited Employment: The Act restricts the employment of adolescents in hazardous occupations.
  • Punishments: Penalties for violations have been increased for companies, while individuals and guardians face lesser penalties.
  • Cognizable Offence: Child labour violations are now treated as cognizable offences.
  • District Magistrate’s Authority: District Magistrates oversee the implementation of the Act.
  • Rehabilitation Fund: A fund is established for the rescue and rehabilitation of child and adolescent laborers.
  • Inspection and Monitoring: Regular inspections are conducted at sites where child labour is prohibited.

4. Rights of Child under Indian Constitution:

  • Right to free elementary education (Article 21 A).
  • Protection from hazardous employment till 14 years (Article 24).
  • Protection from abuse or forced labour (Article 39(e)).
  • Equal opportunities and protection (Article 39(f)).
  • Early childhood care and education (Article 45).
  1. Prohibited Occupations and Processes: The Act specifies occupations and processes prohibited for children under 14 years, including railway work, catering at railway stations, slaughterhouses, hazardous manufacturing processes, etc.
  2. Hours of Work and Maintenance: The Act sets limits on working hours, rest intervals, and mandates the maintenance of registers detailing children’s employment.
  3. Penalties: Violations of the Act or its rules can lead to imprisonment, fines, or both.

The initiatives and programs in India aimed at addressing child labour are extensive and diverse, reflecting the multifaceted nature of the issue. Here are some key points regarding child labour programs in India:

1.National Policy on Child Labour (1987):

  • The National Policy on Child Labour, established in August 1987, outlines a progressive and sequential approach to rehabilitating children and adolescents.
  • It focuses on implementing legislative strategies, converging general development programs, and creating project-based action plans for the welfare of working children.

2. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015:

  • Enacted amidst controversy and discussions, this Act aimed to address various aspects of juvenile justice and child protection.
  • It also aimed to improve adoption legislation to make it more accessible throughout India.

3. National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme (2007):

  • The NCLP Scheme adopts a sequential approach, with a particular emphasis on rehabilitating children engaged in hazardous occupations and processes.
  • Surveys are conducted under this scheme to identify and address child labour involved in hazardous activities.

4. PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement of No Child Labor):

  • PENCIL is an acronym representing a platform designed to integrate efforts from the central government, state governments, districts, civil society, and the public to create a child labour-free society.
  • Its primary goal is to ensure the effective implementation of the Child Labour Act and the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme.

The Contract Labour Act, 1970:

1. Objective and Scope of the Act

  • Objective: To prevent exploitation of contract labour and introduce better working conditions.
  • Scope: Applies to establishments with 20 or more contract laborers.

2. Definition of Contract Labour (Section 2(b))

  • A workman hired in connection with an establishment’s work through a contractor.
  • Includes indirect employment situations.

3. Establishment (Section 2(e))

  • Includes government offices, industries, trades, businesses, etc.

4. Central Advisory Contract Labour Board (Central Board)

  • Assists the central government in administering the act.
  • Composition includes representatives from government, railways, coal, mining, contractors, and workmen.

5. State Board

  • Assists the state government, composition similar to the Central Board.

6. Canteens (Section 16)

  • Mandatory provision by contractors in applicable establishments.
  • Criteria include the number of contract laborers and the duration of work.

7. Amenities for Contract Labour

  • Drinking water, latrines, washing facilities, first-aid, etc., to be provided by contractors.
  • Principal employer responsible if contractors fail to provide amenities.

8. Payment of Wages

  • Contractors must pay wages within prescribed periods.
  • Principal employer responsible if contractors fail to pay.

9. Penal Provisions (Section 23)

  • Imprisonment or fine for contravening Act provisions, rules, or license conditions.
  • Additional fine for continuing contraventions.

10. Responsibilities

  • Joint and Several responsibilities of Principal Employer and Contractor.
  • Principal Employer responsible for ensuring fair wages, amenities, registers, etc., by contractors.

For more detailed understanding, it’s recommended to refer to specific sections of the Contract Labour Act, 1970 and relevant case laws such as:

  • Section 23: Provides for penal provisions.
  • People’s Union of Democratic Republic v. Union of India (1982): Example of wage disparity case.
  • Section 16: Mandates canteen provision.
  • Section 2(b): Defines contract labour.

The Equal Remuneration Act

The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, is a significant piece of legislation aimed at bridging the wage gap between men and women workers.

Objectives:

  1. Equal Wages: The Act aims to provide equal wages to men and women based on the nature of employment.
  2. Equality of Treatment: It seeks to ensure equality of treatment in employment.
  3. Protection Against Discrimination: The Act protects individuals against discrimination concerning employment or occupation.
  4. Prevention of Unfair Dismissal: It ensures that no person shall be unfairly dismissed from work solely on grounds of sex.

Salient Features:

  1. Definition of Remuneration: Remuneration under the Act includes salary, wages, bonus, commission, and other monetary considerations payable to a person in return for their services.
  2. Prohibition of Discrimination: Employers are prohibited from discriminating between men and women in favor of men by paying them fewer wages for the same work or employment.
  3. Justification for Differential Pay: Any differential pay based on gender must be justified on grounds such as seniority, merit, productivity, or any other factor not prohibited under the Act.
  4. Protection Against Dismissal: No woman shall be dismissed solely on grounds of her sex.
  5. No Discrimination in Employment: Employers cannot discriminate between men and women regarding employment or any term or condition of employment based on their sex by paying them fewer wages for the same work.
  6. Advisory Committees: The appropriate government must constitute Advisory Committees to increase employment opportunities for women. The committees consider factors like the nature of work, working hours, and suitability of women for employment.
  7. Inspector’s Powers: Inspectors appointed by the appropriate government have powers to enter premises, examine documents, take evidence, and ensure compliance with the Act.
  8. Penalties: Employers failing to comply with the Act’s provisions face penalties, including fines and imprisonment.
  9. Power to Make Rules: The Central Government has the power to make rules to protect employees’ interests and regulate changes in the Act.
  10. Central Government’s Directions: The Central Government can give directions to state governments regarding the execution of the Act.

Cases related to the principle of equal pay for equal work:

1. Randhir Singh Vs. Union of India (1982):

  • Citation: 1982 AIR 879, 1982 SCR (3) 298
  • Key Point: The Supreme Court ruled that the principle of equal pay for equal work is deducible from Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. This judgment affirmed the fundamental right to equal pay for equal work, emphasizing the constitutional basis of this principle.

2. S. Nakara v. Union of India (1983):

  • Citation: 1983 AIR 130, 1983 SCR (2) 165
  • Key Point: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the doctrine of equal pay for equal work has the status of a fundamental right. This judgment further solidified the legal standing of the principle, highlighting its significance as a fundamental right that ensures fairness and equality in terms of remuneration for work of equal value.

The Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code, 2020

The Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code, 2020, is a comprehensive legislation that aims to consolidate and amend the laws regulating the occupational safety, health, and working conditions of workers in establishments across various sectors. Here are the key aspects of this code:

Application:

The Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code, 2020, applies to establishments and workers across sectors such as manufacturing, construction, mining, transport, and other industries. It covers a wide range of workers, including those in formal and informal sectors, gig workers, and platform workers.

Objectives:

  1. Ensuring Safety and Health: The code aims to promote a safe and healthy work environment for all workers, reducing occupational hazards and risks.
  2. Improving Working Conditions: It seeks to enhance the overall working conditions, including provisions for welfare amenities, leave entitlements, and social security benefits.
  3. Regulating Employment: The code regulates various aspects of employment such as working hours, overtime, leave, and conditions of service to protect the interests of workers.
  4. Facilitating Compliance: It provides a framework for compliance with occupational safety and health standards, ensuring that establishments adhere to prescribed norms and regulations.
  5. Promoting Social Security: The code also focuses on social security measures for workers, including provisions for insurance, health benefits, and welfare schemes.

Important Sections:

Some of the important sections of the Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code, 2020, include:

  1. Section 3 – Health and Safety Measures: This section outlines the responsibilities of employers to provide a safe working environment, including measures for occupational safety, health, and welfare facilities.
  2. Section 6 – Working Hours: It regulates working hours, breaks, and overtime provisions for workers, ensuring that they are not overworked and receive adequate rest periods.
  3. Section 9 – Leave Entitlements: This section deals with leave entitlements such as annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, and other types of leave that workers are entitled to.
  4. Section 14 – Welfare Facilities: It mandates the provision of welfare facilities such as canteens, restrooms, first aid facilities, and creches for establishments employing a certain number of workers.
  5. Section 18 – Social Security: This section focuses on social security measures for workers, including provisions for insurance, provident fund, gratuity, and other welfare schemes.
  6. Section 22 – Inspection and Enforcement: It deals with the inspection and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with the provisions of the code, empowering authorities to take action against non-compliant establishments.

The Industrial Relations Code

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, is a significant piece of legislation aimed at regulating industrial relations and promoting harmony between employers and workers:

Application:

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, applies to industrial establishments, including factories, mines, plantations, and other workplaces. It covers both organized and unorganized sectors, aiming to streamline industrial relations across industries.

Objectives:

  1. Promoting Industrial Harmony: The code seeks to foster a harmonious relationship between employers and workers, promoting cooperation and dialogue for mutual benefit.
  2. Regulating Industrial Disputes: It provides mechanisms for the resolution of industrial disputes, including grievance redressal, conciliation, and arbitration, to prevent conflicts and disruptions in production.
  3. Ensuring Fair Practices: The code emphasizes fair practices in matters such as wages, working conditions, employment contracts, and disciplinary actions, protecting the interests of both employers and workers.
  4. Facilitating Collective Bargaining: It encourages collective bargaining between employers and trade unions to negotiate terms and conditions of employment, wages, and other relevant issues.
  5. Enhancing Social Security: The code includes provisions for social security measures such as provident fund, gratuity, insurance, and other welfare schemes to support workers’ well-being.

Important Sections:

Some of the important sections of the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, include:

  1. Section 3 – Recognition of Trade Unions: This section deals with the recognition and registration of trade unions, their rights, obligations, and representation in industrial matters.
  2. Section 7 – Grievance Redressal: It outlines procedures for addressing grievances and complaints raised by workers, ensuring timely resolution and preventing disputes.
  3. Section 9 – Collective Bargaining: This section provides for collective bargaining between employers and trade unions to negotiate agreements on various issues, including wages, working hours, and conditions of service.
  4. Section 14 – Industrial Disputes: It defines industrial disputes, procedures for conciliation, arbitration, and adjudication, and mechanisms for settling disputes to maintain industrial peace.
  5. Section 18 – Layoff, Retrenchment, and Closure: This section regulates the processes and conditions for layoffs, retrenchment, and closure of establishments, protecting workers’ rights and providing compensation where applicable.
  6. Section 22 – Penalties: It specifies penalties for non-compliance with the provisions of the code, including fines and other disciplinary actions against defaulting parties.

The Code on Wages, 2019

The Code on Wages, 2019, is a significant legislation that consolidates and simplifies the laws related to wages and bonus payments in India.

Application:

The Code on Wages, 2019, applies to all establishments and industries where any trade, business, or manufacture is carried out. It covers both organized and unorganized sectors, ensuring uniformity and clarity in wage-related matters.

Objectives:

  1. Simplification and Consolidation: The code aims to simplify and consolidate various wage-related laws, reducing complexity and ensuring uniformity in wage structures across industries and regions.
  2. Definition of Wages: It provides a comprehensive definition of wages, including basic wages, allowances, bonuses, and other components, ensuring clarity and consistency in wage calculations.
  3. Minimum Wages: The code mandates the fixation of minimum wages by the appropriate government, taking into account factors such as skill level, nature of work, and geographical location, to provide fair remuneration to workers.
  4. Equal Remuneration: It promotes the principle of equal remuneration for equal work, prohibiting discrimination in wages based on gender, skill level, or any other factor.
  5. Transparency and Compliance: The code emphasizes transparency in wage-related matters, including the manner of payment, deductions, and maintenance of records, to ensure compliance with statutory requirements.

Important Sections:

Some of the important sections of the Code on Wages, 2019, include:

  1. Section 2 – Definitions: This section defines various terms related to wages, including wages, employee, employer, and allowances, providing clarity and uniformity in interpretation.
  2. Section 6 – Fixation of Minimum Wages: It empowers the appropriate government to fix and revise minimum wages for different categories of workers based on factors such as skill level, nature of work, and geographical area.
  3. Section 12 – Payment of Wages: This section specifies the time, mode, and frequency of wage payments, ensuring timely and lawful payment of wages to employees.
  4. Section 14 – Deductions: It regulates deductions that can be made from wages, such as for fines, damage, accommodation, or amenities provided by the employer, ensuring fair and lawful deductions.
  5. Section 17 – Equal Remuneration: This section enforces the principle of equal remuneration for equal work, prohibiting discrimination in wages based on gender or any other ground.
  6. Section 20 – Inspectors: It provides for the appointment of inspectors to ensure compliance with the provisions of the code, including inspections, inquiries, and penalties for violations.

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, is a comprehensive piece of legislation that consolidates and amends the laws relating to trade unions, conditions of employment, investigation and settlement of industrial disputes.

Application:

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, applies to all industries and establishments employing 300 or more workers. It also extends to certain other specific types of establishments and categories of workers as defined under the code.

Objectives:
  1. Simplification and Consolidation: The code aims to simplify and consolidate various labor laws relating to industrial relations, making them easier to understand and apply.
  2. Promotion of Harmony: It seeks to promote harmonious industrial relations and minimize industrial disputes by providing a framework for the resolution of disputes.
  3. Protection of Workers’ Rights: The code ensures the protection of workers’ rights, including the right to form and join trade unions and the right to collective bargaining.
  4. Flexibility in Employment: It provides flexibility to employers in managing the workforce, including provisions for layoffs, retrenchment, and closure of establishments.
  5. Dispute Resolution: The code establishes mechanisms for the timely and effective resolution of industrial disputes through conciliation, arbitration, and adjudication.

Important Sections:

Some of the important sections of the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, include:

  1. Section 2 – Definitions: This section defines key terms such as “industrial dispute,” “strike,” “lock-out,” “retrenchment,” “worker,” and “employer,” providing clarity for the application of the code.
  2. Section 7 – Standing Orders: It mandates employers to prepare standing orders (rules of conduct) for workers and get them certified to ensure fair and transparent working conditions.
  3. Section 14 – Trade Unions: This section outlines the rights and obligations of trade unions, including their registration, recognition, and the process for collective bargaining.
  4. Section 22 – Grievance Redressal: It provides for the establishment of a Grievance Redressal Committee in every industrial establishment employing 20 or more workers to address individual grievances.
  5. Section 40 – Industrial Tribunal: It establishes Industrial Tribunals for the adjudication of industrial disputes and provides for the appointment of presiding officers and other members.
  6. Section 51 – Strikes and Lock-Outs: This section regulates the legality of strikes and lock-outs, including the requirement of notice and the conditions under which they may be declared.
  7. Section 77 – Layoff and Retrenchment: It outlines the provisions related to layoff and retrenchment of workers, including the payment of compensation and the procedure to be followed.
  8. Section 85 – Closure of Establishments: This section specifies the procedure and conditions for the closure of industrial establishments, including the requirement of prior notice and compensation to affected workers.
  9. Section 104 – Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: It details the procedures for the investigation and settlement of industrial disputes through conciliation, arbitration, and adjudication.

The Code on Social Security, 2020

The Code on Social Security, 2020, is a comprehensive legislation aimed at consolidating and amending various laws relating to social security with the goal of extending social security benefits to all employees and workers in India.

Application:

The Code on Social Security, 2020, applies to:

  • All establishments, including those in the unorganized sector, gig workers, platform workers, and other sectors as specified.
  • Various categories of employees, including those working in factories, mines, plantations, and other industries.

Objectives:

  1. Consolidation of Laws: To consolidate and simplify multiple social security laws into one comprehensive code, making compliance easier for employers and understanding simpler for employees.
  2. Universal Coverage: To extend social security benefits to all employees, including those in the organized, unorganized, gig, and platform sectors.
  3. Enhanced Benefits: To ensure better and more comprehensive social security benefits such as pensions, insurance, gratuity, maternity benefits, and more.
  4. Streamlined Administration: To streamline the administration of social security schemes and improve their implementation and delivery.

Important Sections:

Here are some of the important sections of the Code on Social Security, 2020:

  1. Section 2 – Definitions: This section provides definitions for various terms used in the code, such as “employee,” “employer,” “wages,” “social security,” “gig worker,” “platform worker,” and more.
  2. Section 4 – Social Security Organizations: It outlines the establishment and functions of social security organizations, including the Central Board of Trustees for the Employees’ Provident Fund and the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation.
  3. Section 7 – Employees’ Provident Fund: This section covers the provisions related to the Employees’ Provident Fund, including contributions, management, and benefits.
  4. Section 13 – Employees’ State Insurance: It details the provisions for the Employees’ State Insurance scheme, including coverage, contributions, and benefits.
  5. Section 35 – Gratuity: This section specifies the conditions for payment of gratuity to employees, including eligibility, amount, and the procedure for payment.
  6. Section 44 – Maternity Benefit: It outlines the rights and benefits available to female employees during maternity, including leave and other entitlements.
  7. Section 50 – Social Security for Unorganized Workers: This section provides for the registration and social security benefits for unorganized workers, including those in the gig and platform sectors.
  8. Section 58 – Employees’ Compensation: It covers provisions related to compensation to employees for injuries sustained in the course of employment.
  9. Section 70 – National Social Security Board: It establishes the National Social Security Board for unorganized workers, gig workers, and platform workers to recommend social security schemes and monitor their implementation.
  10. Section 77 – Finance and Accounts: This section deals with the financial aspects of social security schemes, including the maintenance of funds, accounts, and audits.

Key Highlights:

  • Universalization of Social Security: Extends social security benefits to all employees, including those in the unorganized, gig, and platform sectors.
  • Simplification: Combines and simplifies nine existing laws related to social security, making compliance easier for employers.
  • Portability: Allows for the portability of social security benefits across different jobs and states.
  • Digitalization: Promotes the use of digital platforms for registration, contribution, and benefit disbursement to ensure transparency and efficiency.
  • Gig and Platform Workers: Provides specific provisions for the social security of gig and platform workers, recognizing the changing nature of employment in the modern economy.

The Code on Social Security, 2020, represents a significant step towards creating a comprehensive and inclusive social security system in India, aimed at ensuring that all workers, regardless of their sector or type of employment, have access to essential social security benefits.

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