The Ministry of Labour and Employment has taken a number of legislative initiatives in labour reforms laws during the last 3 years.
Such initiatives include –
Amendment to the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 by which eligibility limit for payment of bonus enhanced from Rs 10,000/- to Rs. 21,000/- per month and the Calculation Ceiling from Rs. 3,500/- to Rs. 7,000/- or the minimum wages.
Payment of Wages (Amendment) Act, 2017 enabling payment of Wages to employees by Cash or Cheque or crediting it to their bank account.
Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 provides for complete ban on employment of children below 14 years in any occupation or process.
Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017, increases the paid maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks.
The Employee Compensation (Amendment) Act, seeks to rationalize penalties and strengthen the rights of the workers under the Act.
Ministry has notified “Ease of Compliance to maintain Registers under various Labour Laws Rules, 2017” on 21st February 2017 which has in effect replaced the 56 Registers/Forms under 9 Central Labour Reforms Laws and Rules made there under in to 5 common Registers/Forms. This will save efforts, costs and lessen the compliance burden by various establishments.
A Model Shops and Establishments (RE&CS) Bill, 2016 has been circulated to all States/UTs for adoption with appropriate modification. The said Bill inter alia provides for freedom to operate an Establishment for 365 days in a year without any restriction on opening/closing time and enables employment of women during night shifts if adequate safety provisions exist.
A category i.e. Fixed Term Employment has been introduced under Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 to impart flexibility to an establishment to employ people in case of Apparel Manufacturing Sector to meet the fluctuating demands of the sector due to its seasonal nature.
These legislative initiatives are expected to not only facilitate effective enforcement but also enhance wage security, job security, social security and safety, health and working conditions for workers.
Labour Reforms is an important topic, and the aspirants are advised to keep noting down the points that they find. A question from Labour Reforms can appear in Prelims as well as Mains.