Firing employees now easier? Three Labour Code Bills passed in Parliament
Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed three crucial Labour Code Bills. These bills are Industrial Relations Code bill 2020, Code on Social Security bill 2020, and Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions code bill 2020. These bills propose key changes for both employers and employees.
The Social Security Code proposes for inclusion of inter-state migrant workers in the ambit of social security. This has been done keeping in view the recent migrant labour crisis. The code proposes a National Social Security Board which will be responsible for giving recommendations to the central government for designing schemes for workers in the unorganized sector- like gig workers. The bill also states that aggregators employing gig workers will have to contribute 1 to 2 percent of their annual turnover for social security of the workers.
Inter-state migrant workers have been defined by Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions bill as a person who has come to a different state from their home state to obtain employment and is earning upto Rs 18000 a month. Earlier there was a provision for temporary accommodation for workers near worksites which has been removed in the new bill. However, the bill proposes travel allowance, that the employer will have to pay to the worker for to and fro journey to their native place from their place of employment.
The Industrial Relations Code bill has raised concerns for labour unions though. The bill has raised the threshold for requirement of Standing Order from 100 to 300 workers which means that companies with upto 300 employees will not be required to furnish a standing order before layoffs and retrenchment of employees. With this provision, it will be much more easier for establishment to hire or fire employees. The bill also introduces new conditions for going on legal strikes. Any employee cannot go on a strike without a 60 day notice. This condition will make going on strikes almost impossible for workers.
The bills were passed in both the Houses without deliberations due to Opposition’s boycott of the session.