Bills to overhaul labour laws, boost jobs moved in LS


New Delhi, The government on Tuesday moved two Bills in Lok Sabha to overhaul decades-old labour laws, some dating from British times, to make it easier for industry to meet labour standards and create more jobs.

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, who introduced The Code on Wages, 2019, and The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019, said these would promote ease of doing business and are a historical step for ensuring statutory protection for minimum wages and timely payment of wages to 500 million workers.

Seeking support of the opposition, he said the Code on Wages seeks to consolidate the laws relating to wages, bonus and connected matters. The Bill will replace 44 archaic labour laws and aims to set standards of minimum wages across industry, including small businesses, which employ nearly 90 per cent of India’s work force.

It will repeal four existing laws, including one on wage payments passed in 1936 and one on minimum wages dating to 1948.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code seeks to consolidate and amend the laws regulating the occupational safety, health and working conditions of the persons employed in an establishment.

It proposes a single-registration, single-licence regime for companies, instead of multiple permissions under 13 labour laws and allows women to work night shifts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a labour market shake-up a part of his reform agenda after coming to office in 2014, but opposition from unions and a bruising battle to pass other key economic legislation have stalled his effort.