The Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020

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Three Codes to Reform Indian Labour Laws is passed by the Parliament

  1. The Industrial Relations Code, 2020
  2. The Code on Social Security, 2020
  3. The Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020

The three codes are part of the four codes that consolidate 29 central labour laws. In 2019, the Code on Wages was passed. These Bills aims to lighten up labour laws to alleviate operational needs for the Industries at the same time bring in social security for all workers, including inter-state migrants plus unorganized workers.

Significant features of the Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions Code, 2020

The Bill gives power to the state government to exempt any new factory from the provisions of the Code in sequence to produce more economic activity as well as employment. The Bill will apply to establishments or contractors employing 50 or more workers on any day in the last one year

  • Factory

The Bill amends the definition of factory. It states that “Factory” means any premises including the precincts thereof—

  • whereon twenty or more workers are working, or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on with the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on; or
  •  whereon forty or more workers are working, or were working on any day of the preceding twelve months, and in any part of which a manufacturing process is being carried on without the aid of power, or is ordinarily so carried on, but does not include a mobile unit belonging to the armed forces of the Union, railways running shed or a hotel, restaurant or eating place.
  • Contract labour

“Contract labour” means a worker who shall be deemed to be employed in or in connection with the work of an establishment when he is hired in or in connection with such work by or through a contractor, with or without the knowledge of the principal employer and includes inter-State migrant worker but does not include a worker (other than a part-time employee) who is regularly employed by the contractor for any activity of his establishment and his employment is governed by mutually accepted standards of the conditions of employment (including engagement on a permanent basis), and gets periodical increment in the pay, social

  • Contract workers

The Bill proscribes employment of contract labour in core activities, except where:

  • The normal functioning of the establishment is such that the activity is ordinarily done through contractor,
  • The activities are such that they do not require full time workers for the major portion of the day, or
  • There is a sudden increase in the volume work in the core activity which needs to be completed in a specified time.

Note- The appropriate government will decide whether an activity of the establishment is a core activity or not

On the other hand, the Bill lists non-core activities. These consist of:

  1. Any activity of intermittent nature even if that constitutes a core activity of an establishment.
  2. Sanitation workers
  3. Security services
  • Daily work hour limit

The Bill states that the daily working hour will be 8 hours per day

  • Employment of women

The Bill provides women shall be entitled to be employed in all establishments for all types of work under this Code and they may also be employed, with their consent before 6 a.m. and beyond 7 p.m. subject to such conditions relating to safety, holidays and working hours or any other condition to be observed by the employer as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

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Also, where the appropriate Government considers that the employment of women is dangerous for their health and safety, in an establishment or class of establishments or in any particular hazardous or dangerous processes in such establishment or class of establishments, due to the operation carried out therein, such Government may in the prescribed manner, require the employer to provide adequate safeguards prior to the employment of women for such operation.

  • Establishments occupied in hazardous activity

The Bill describes an establishment as a place where any hazardous activity is carried out in spite of the number of workers as prior the threshold was 10 and 20 workers respectively.

  • Inter-state migrant workers and unorganized workers

“inter-State migrant worker” means a person who is employed in an establishment and who—

  • has been recruited directly by the employer or indirectly through contractor in one State for employment in such establishment situated in another State; or
  • has come on his own from one State and obtained employment in an establishment of another State or has subsequently changed the establishment within the destination State, under an agreement or other arrangement for such employment and draws wages not exceeding the amount of rupees eighteen thousand per month or such higher amount as may be notified by the Central Government from time to time
  • Benefits for inter-state migrant workers
  • Option to avail the benefits of the public distribution system either in the native state or the state of employment
  • Insurance and provident fund benefits available to other workers in the same establishment
  • Availability of benefits available under the building and other construction cess fund in the state of employment
  • Database for inter-state migrant workers

The Bill necessitates the central as well as state governments to maintain or record the details of inter-state migrant workers in a portal. An inter-state migrant worker may register himself/herself on the portal on the basis of self-declaration as well as Aadhaar.

  • Social Security Fund

There shall be established by the appropriate Government a social security fund for the welfare of the unorganised workers to which there shall be credited the amount received from composition of the offence as specified in sub-section (4) of section 114 and the amount of the penalty as specified in sub-section (6) of section 111. The Fund may also be funded by such other sources as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

The Fund shall be administered and expended for welfare of the unorganised workers in such manner as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government including the transfer of the amount in the fund to any fund established under any other law for the time being in force for the welfare of the unorganised workers.

   “Unorganised worker” shall have the same meaning as is assigned to it under clause (m) of section     2 of the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.

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