Parlimentary Consultative Committee meeting on Comprehensive Amendments in Labour Laws Moots Effective Implementation and speedy Grievance Redressal
Members participating in the meeting of Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Comprehensive Amendment in Labour Laws have urged the government for the effective and speedy implementation of labour laws along with the timely redressal of Grievances. In meeting held yesterday the members raised the issue of Child labour Laws alongwith the Contract Labour Law reforms. Union Labour & Employment Minister Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, who chaired the meeting assured the members for due consideration on the issue raised.
Welcoming the members the minister the minister said Labour being a subject in the Concurrent List where both Central and State Governments are competent to enact legislations. Ministry of Labour & Employment is presently administering 44 Labour Laws catering to diverse subjects, namely, occupational health & safety, employment services, training of apprentices, skill development, minimum wages, social security, industrial dispute, labour welfare, child labour etc. He said the Ministry has been reviewing various labour laws from time to time and taking action towards amendment of the labour laws keeping into consideration the changes in the socio economic scenario and the requirements of the workers in organized as well as in the unorganized sector.
Shri Mallikarjuna Kharge informed the members that last few years, amendments have been carried out in Payment of Wages Act, 1936 enhancing ceiling of workers from Rs.1,600/- to Rs.6,500/- per month and subsequently to Rs.10,000/- per month, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, wherein the calculation ceiling and eligibility limit under the Act has been enhanced from Rs.2,500/- to Rs.3,500/- and from Rs.3,500/- to Rs.10,000/- per month respectively.
The Apprentices Act, 1961 has been amended to provide reservation for other backward classes. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 has been amended to enhance the medical bonus from Rs.250/-to Rs.1000/- and also empowering the Central Government to further increase it to maximum of Rs.20,000/- through Gazette Notification.
The Workmen’s Compensation Act has been amended to make it gender neutral and it is now called “the Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923. Besides this, the Compensation in case of death, disablement and funeral expense paid under the Act have also been enhanced. The Plantation Labour Act, 1951 has been amended to provide safety and occupational health care to plantation workers.
The minister said his Ministry has amended the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 to improve the quality of delivery of benefits under the scheme and also to enable ESI infrastructure to be used to provide health care to workers of the unorganized sector. The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 has been amended to enhance ceiling on gratuity from Rs.3.5 lakh to Rs.10 lakh and to cover the teachers in educational institutions.
Also, the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 has been amended to amplify the term “appropriate Government” defined under section 2(a) of the Act. The wage ceiling for coverage under the Act has been enhanced from Rs.1600/- to Rs.10,000/- per month to cover workmen working in supervising capacity. The amended provisions also provide direct access for the workman to the Labour Court or Tribunal.
Shri Kharge also informed that the Government has also introduced Bills in Parliament for Amendment in the following Labour Acts: –
(i) The Mines Act, 1952.
(ii) The Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Act, 1988.
(iii) The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulations of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.
(iv) The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986.
It was also highlighted that other major Labour Acts which are under various stages of consideration for amendments are: –
(i) The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Services) Act, 1996
(ii) The Factories Act 1948,
(iii) The Minimum wages Act 1948,
(iv) The Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952,
(v) The Apprentice Act 1961
(vi) The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970
(vii) The Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959.
Shri Khrge solicited members cooperation & guidance in the formulation of amendments as well review of Labour Laws in the course of discussions. Shri Mangala Kisan (BJD) & Shri Ram Sunder Das (SP) were the members who participated in the discussions Besides, the Minister of State in the Labour & Employment Ministry Shri K.Suresh, Dr. Mrutunjay Sarangi, Secretary Labour & Employment and senior officers from the ministry were present in the meeting.