ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reviewing the Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015

The National Democratic Alliance government released an early draft of a bill attempting to codify the statutes dealing with industrial relations, that is, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, and Industrial Employment (Standing Orders)Act, 1946. The Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, is one of the three labour codes the government is working on to consolidate all the important labour legislation. It is important to analyse the text of the 2015 bill when the ruling party’s own affiliate, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, protests against the proposed bill.

The 107-section-long Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, with three schedules, not just consolidates three acts, but also amends the law substantially. The bill expands the definition of “employer” to include the occupier of the factory (Section 2(n) of Factories Act, 1948) and also amends the definition as it stood under Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 by replacing “any person responsible to the owner for supervision and control of the industrial establishment” with “the person who, or the authority which has ultimate control over affairs of the establishment,” thereby effectively making the owner also to be liable as an employer under the bill (Section 2[1][h]). The definition of “industry,” which was amended in 1982, but never notified, has now been incorporated in the 2015 bill (Section 2[1][l]).

The bill also expands the definition of “strike” from Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 by defining casual leave taken by 50% or more workers on a given day as strike as well (Section 2[1][za]). The definition of “wage” is substantially modified, and is expected to have a bearing in situations involving computation of back wages. The 2015 bill, by defining wages “by way of salary, allowances or otherwise,” incorporates remuneration payable under any award/settlement/court order, remuneration in lieu of overtime work/holidays/leave period, bonus payable as per terms of employment, severance amount, and sums as per schemes framed by the government. Notably, housing accommodation and travel allowance/concession are no longer included in the definition. Additionally, interest accrued upon pension or provident fund is also excluded, and so is any sum paid to defray special expenses entitled to by nature of employment (Section 2[1][ze]).

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Updated On : 28th May, 2018

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