Eligibility ceiling, calculation ceiling for payment of bonus need to be removed-Trade Unions Insisted in 46th ILC
Removal of Conditions on payment Ceiling eligibility Limits, Decisions to pay Minimum Bonus without linking to loss when the performance indicator satisfy grant of bonus- The major conclusions emanating from the discussions in the committee are as follows:
The Conference committee on amendment of Bonus Act – Removal of Conditions on Payment Ceiling, Eligibility Limits. Decisions to pay Minimum Bonus without linking to loss when the performance indicator satisfy grant of bonus constituted to discuss the Agenda item No. 3 of 46th session of the Indian Labour Conference met under the chairmanship of Captain Abhimanyu, Minister of Labour, Govt. of Haryana. Shri Om Prakash Mittal, General Secretary, Laghu Udyog Bharti (LUB) and Ms. Meenakshi Gupta and Mr. B.B. Mallick, Joint Secretary, MoLE respectively were the Vice-Cheirman and Member Secretary of the Committee. The Committee had the representation of all the stake-holders (Workers’ Group, Employers’ Group and State Government).
2. At the very outset, the chairman of the committee welcomed all the representatives. He observed that the issue of bonus has been pending for long. He expressed the hope that all the partners would understand and appreciate the position of each other and give recommendations keeping in the view the larger national interest. The Vice-Chairman also welcomed all the Members. Thereafter, the Member Secretary introduced the subject. The agenda has following 3 issues:-
(i). Removal of calculation ceiling;
(ii). Removal of Eligibility Limit; and
(iii). Decisions to pay Minimum Bonus without Linking to loss when the performance indicator satisfy grant of bonus.
3. It was mentioned that last revision in the limits (Calculation Ceiling – Rs. 3500 and Eligibility Limit-RS. 10,000) was done in 2007 based on the recommendations of the 41st ILC.
4. The committee had very intense detailed discussions on all the aspects of the Agenda Item no. 3.
(i). The Trade Unions were of the view that all the ceilings under the payment of Bonus Act. 1965 i.e. eligibility ceiling, calculation ceiling and maximum percent of bonus payable need to be removed. They further expressed that they would like to reiterate the stand taken by them in the tripartite meeting held on 20 October, 2014.
(ii). The Employers, representatives were of the view that total removal of various ceilings may lead to spurt in industrial relation issues. They observed that while making any change in the payment of Bonus Act, 1965 productivity of the workers and paying capacity of the employers have to be taken into account. They further observed that they are not in favour of indexation of cost of living for the purpose of ceiling and bonus calculation. The term ‘Employee’ should be substituted by the term ‘workman’ as defined under the industrial disputes Act. The present system of prescribing limits both for eligibility and calculation should be retained.
(iii). The State Government representatives were of the view that minimum, limit of bonus (8.33%) may continue. Regarding limits with regard to calculation and payment ceiling it was stated that they had no comments to offer. They further observed that distinction between statutory bonus and productivity linked bonus is quite relevant in this regard.
(iv). The State Government representatives also suggested that the central Government may consider notifying the limits for eligibility of bonus and calculation of bonus through and administrative process based on tripartite mechanism rather then legislative process every time. Appropriate amendment to the payment of Bonus Act, 1965 may have to be carried out accordingly.
Labour laws Amendments proposed/ done by central or State Governments Conclusions of the committee are as follows:-
1. The committee reiterates historical role of tripartite mechanism functioning in the country before any enactment/ amendment of labour laws.
2. Any labour law amendments/ enactment should take into account three purpose namely:
(i). Rights and welfare of workers;
(ii). Sustainability of enterprises and job creation; and
(iii). Industrial peace.
3. The labour laws need to be relooked and updated in a time bound manner.
4. Committee recommends that the overall exercise of the labour law amendments should be discussed in the tripartite forum and the broad and specific proposals should also be discussed in tripartite meetings.