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3 labour reform bills cleared from Rajya Sabha amid absent Opposition

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The Centre on Wednesday got three important labour reform bills cleared from the Rajya Sabha amid an absent Opposition. The ‘reforms’ will remove the bottlenecks in winding up of companies and will allow firms having up to 300 workers to sack staff without any government permission.

Notably, the Opposition parties, namely Congress, TMC and Left, are boycotting the monsoon session due to the suspension of 8 MPs who opposed the controversial farm bills.

The Rajya Sabha passed the three labour codes on industrial relations, social security and occupational safety by voice vote. The three codes have been passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and now will be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent.

What did the Centre say?

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, while elaborating on the labour reforms, said the proposed reforms aim to provide a transparent system to suit the changed business scenario.

Santosh Gangwar also told the Rajya Sabha that as many as 16 states have already increased the threshold for closure, lay-off and retrenchment in firms with up to 300 workers without government permission.

He said the increase in the threshold would result in job creation and encourage employers to hire.

Gangwar added that these labour reform bills would safeguard the interest of workers and provide universal social security to workers by expanding the ambit of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation and Employees’ State Corporation of India.

The minister clarified that there will be a social security fund to cover around 40 crore unorganised sector workers.

29 labour laws merged into 4 codes

Over 29 labour laws have been merged into four codes. While one of the codes—The Code on Wages (2019)—has been passed by the Parliament in 2019, the passage of the remaining three codes by Parliament completes the government efforts to reform the labour laws in the country.

Three codes passed by Parliament

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, will consolidate and amend the laws regulating occupational safety, health and working conditions of persons employed in an establishment and related matters.

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to trade unions, conditions of employment in industrial establishments or undertaking, investigation and settlement of industrial disputes.

The Code on Social Security, 2020, will amend and consolidate laws relating to social security with the goal to extend social security to all employees and workers either in the organised sector or the unorganised sector.

 

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