The proposed Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, would enhance coverage of workers manifold. The rules will state that workers will have to be given an offer letter besides an annual medical check-up, labour minister Santosh Gangwar said.
The minister said the code will be applicable to all business entities dealing in the port and mining sector even if they have only one employee. The proposed changes are intended to improve ease of business while also giving enhanced protection to employees by mandating certain norms. Many of India’s labour laws, though intended to protect workers, have been seen to discourage formal employment while providing incentives for graft.
The bill provides for a single licence regime for staffing firms, thus significantly improving their ease of doing business. Gangwar added that a comprehensive change in labour law, which the government will bring through legislation, would make appointment letters mandatory. The decision comes a week after the Cabinet gave its go-ahead to a labour code on wages, which has the provision of mandatory compliance of minimum wage and timely payment.
Both the bills will be introduced during the current session of Parliament. Highlighting the impact of the proposed change, Gangwar said there are some states where the daily wage of labourers is Rs 50 or Rs 60. The Wage Code Bill proposes Rs 178 as the minimum wage and states will have the liberty to increase it as well.
Sources said some of provisions in the proposed labour laws specify that if a woman works after 7pm, security has to be provided by the company and the employer would have to take the consent of the employee for overtime. The maximum overtime in a month would be 125 hours.
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