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Govt may move 2 key labour bills next week: Gangwar

PTI

New Delhi

The government may introduce two labour bills, including the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill that was cleared by the Cabinet Wednesday, in Parliament next week, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said.

The Cabinet had approved the Code on Wages Bill on July 3.

“The House is in session. These bills can come in the House (Lok Sabha) next week,” Gangwar told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

Talking about the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2019, the minister said, “This will benefit around 10 crore workers. In mines and port where even if one worker works, the law would be applicable.

“There are many places where workers don’t get appointment letters. The bill provides for that. Regular medical check up of workers would be made mandatory. We have also eased the process of compliance for employers.”

Safety, health, welfare and improved working conditions are pre-requisite for well-being of a worker and also for the economic growth of the country as healthy workforce would be more productive and occurrence of less accidents and unforeseen incidents would be economically beneficial to employers also, the minister said.

With the ultimate aim of extending the safety and healthy working conditions to all workforce of the country, the Code enhances the ambit of provisions of safety, health, welfare and working conditions from existing about 9 major sectors to all establishments having 10 or more employees.

It would subsume 13 labour laws including The Factories Act, 1948; The Mines Act, 1952 and The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986. 

Talking about Wage Code, the minister said, “Union Cabinet recently approved the first Code (Code on Wages Bill) on July 3, 2019. This is very important Code, which would come in the Lok Sabha in two to three days during this session. This will benefit over 40 crore workers.” 

Elaborating further he said, “There are states where still minimum wages of Rs 50, 60 and 100 per day are given. Now we have fixed the minimum wage of Rs 178 per day. But states can give higher than this. Now the date will be fixed for payment of wages. Sometimes workers don’t get wages for months.”

The minister further said, “It is our government’s priority to deliberate on issues related to workers and take right decision in this regard at appropriate time. At a time (when) Atal ji (was Prime Minister), it was decided to reduce number of labour laws. After 2003-04, there were hiccup in the way of proposed labour codes for almost 10 years. We started work on this in 2014. We decided to concise 44 labour laws into four codes.”

The Code on Wages will replace the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

The bill provides that the central government will fix minimum wages for certain sectors, including railways and mines, while the states would be free to set minimum wages for other category of
employments.

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