With more than 40 laws governing different aspects of labour, the government is mulling consolidating these laws into a few selected categories to reduce multiplicity and disputes in their application.

“The objective is to bring in greater compliance and improve implementation of the laws through the process of consolidation,” a Labour and Employment Ministry official said.

The implementation of the Labour Acts has led to several instances where disputes have arisen over the applicability of acts to separate classes of establishments and different categories of workers.

The proposal for consolidation will come up for discussion at the 44th Session of Standing Labour Committee to be held in New Delhi on Monday.

The Committee traditionally approves the agenda for the Indian Labour Conference.

At present, there are 44 different central labour laws concerning different aspects such as industrial relations, wages, working hours, conditions of service and employment, social security, labour welfare, employment and training etc.

“It is for consideration only if important labour laws can be consolidated,” the official said, adding they could be consolidated into four categories.

The issue had earlier been deliberated in several fora such as in the first and second National Commission on Labour, Hoda Committee, State Labour Ministers Conference and Indian Labour Conference, etc, they said.

The National Commission on Labour had, in fact, suggested a ‘national labour code’ and consolidation of labour laws, the recommendation of which was endorsed by various rounds of the Indian Labour Conferences also, the Ministry officials said.

The Industrial Disputes Act, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act and the Trade Unions Act could be consolidated into one law such as the ‘Industrial Relations Act’.

Similarly, laws governing wages could be consolidated into Payment of Wages Act while the laws governing Social Security could be consolidated after harmonisation the definition of the individual laws, they said.

The move, in the long run, may even have a positive impact on expansion of regular employment with simplification of rules and procedures under various legislations, they said.

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