44 labour laws to be amalgamated into 4 codes

Centre may issue directions to States on wage fixation.

October 15, 2015 12:16 am | Updated 12:16 am IST - KOLKATA:

Bandaru Dattatreya says the Centre may issue diretions to States on wage fixation.

Bandaru Dattatreya says the Centre may issue diretions to States on wage fixation.

As part of legislative reforms of labour laws, the Centre has started the process of codification and amalgamation of 44 Central labour laws into four codes in order to simplify them.

The four codes will pertain to labour, industrial relations, social security and welfare and safety and working conditions, Union Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Datttatreya said.

Elaborating on the simplification that this would entail, the Minister said that for instance the labour code on wages would be an amalgam of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

As part of the codes being developed for wages, the Centre might issue directions to the State governments in respect of wage fixation — a power that now exclusively vests with the States.

The Minister was here to take part in the national council meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He addressed the industry leaders at a closed-door meeting after a brief press interaction, where he reportedly claimed that States were on the same page as the Centre on labour reforms. A CII release said that although labour laws were a concurrent subject, “the States are on the same page as they all feel the need for a conducive atmosphere for development.”

Single return Mr. Dattatreya referred to the single online annual return, an initiative launched by the Modi government. This enables filing of a single return by companies instead of the earlier practice of filing separate returns under eight different Acts. Since the launch of this measure in April, 424 online returns have been filed on the Shram Suvidha Portal till October 6. This portal was developed as a unified web platform for ensuring transparency and accountability in enforcement of labour laws while easing complexity of compliance.

The Centre was also planning to increase the compensation to workers of locked-out plants from the present norm of paying 15-days wages. The payment would go directly to the workers’ bank accounts, cutting out middlemen. “Labour rights will be protected,” the Minister said.

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