Labour laws are valuable pieces of legislation required to ensure better terms and conditions of employment to workers. Forward-looking laws in this arena will help creating a harmonious environment for both employees and employers.
Taking steps in this direction, the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, stated in his budget speech that the government is keen on fostering a conducive labor environment wherein labor rights are protected and harmonious labor relations would lead to higher productivity.
Further, he added that legislative reforms will be done to simplify, rationalize and amalgamate the existing labor laws into four codes:
- Industrial relations
- Social security and welfare
- Safety and working conditions
The government had started working on the four labor codes from the time it came to power in May 2014. However, two labor codes wages and Industrial relations are still pending for cabinet’s approval.
Last year Parliament’s monsoon session saw some crucial labor reforms with the starkest legislation being the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016- that increased the existing maternity leave from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Other reforms included The Employees’ Compensation Bill, which rationalized the penalties and strengthened the rights of the workers under the Act, and The Factories Bill that enhanced the limit of overtime hours for workers.
Another suggestive piece of legislation that has been finalized keeping in mind the spirit of co-operative federalism is- The Model Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016. For more info on labor reforms that occurred in 2016, kindly visit People Matters page.