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Govt plans to implement labour codes on April 1, starts shaping rules

Industries to file single return under new regime. Number of minimum wages demanding compliance set to reduce to 12 from 540 under central laws, to 180-200 under the state laws

Labour laws | Indian labour laws | labour reforms

Somesh Jha  |  New Delhi 

Twenty-nine labour laws have been converted into four codes

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government plans to bring into effect new across the country from April 1.

“We intend to implement the new labour codes from April 1. We have begun the process of giving shape to the rules that are to be framed under the codes and we are confident of finalising them in the last quarter of this fiscal year,” Union Labour and Employment Secretary Apurva Chandra said here on Wednesday.

Industries will have to file a single return to the authorities under the new labour law regime. Further, the number of minimum wages that industries have to comply with is set to reduce to 12, from 540 under central and to 180-200 under state laws, from 9,000 at present.

An important task would be that states also frame their rules by March 2021. The new codes give powers to state governments to make rules as they will have jurisdiction over most of the establishments. For instance, while the central government will frame around 57 rules for the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, states will have to come up with around 40 rules.

On its part, the central government, which has jurisdiction over sectors, such as coal, mining, banking, and civil aviation, is set to make public the draft rules under the three labour codes by November this year. The rules will be open for public comments for a period of 45 days. The labour secretary had written to the chief secretaries of states earlier this week, asking them to frame the rules soon so that the new codes could be implemented in time.

Though the codes enable the central government to implement the new in phases, the government is looking at executing them in one go.

As many as 29 labour laws have been converted into four codes.

The three codes on industrial relations, social security, and occupational safety, health and working conditions will subsume 25 labour laws. The codes got the approval of Parliament during the monsoon session when the Opposition organised a boycott to oppose the farm Bills. The fourth one, the code on wages, which combined four labour laws, became a law in August 2019. However, the government is yet to make the law effective as it plans to introduce all the four laws together.

Apart from rationalising various provisions of the law and unifying workplace-related definitions, the government has brought about key changes to the labour laws.

These include easier retrenchment norms, flexibility in hiring contract workers, equal social security benefits for fixed-term and permanent staff, social security cover for gig and migrant workers, and relaxation to smaller factories from labour laws.

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First Published: Wed, October 14 2020. 16:43 IST