Union Government introduced two Labour Reform Bills in Lok Sabha

Union Labour and Employment Minister Narendra Singh Tomar tabled two Labour Reform Bills in the Lok Sabha

Created On: Aug 8, 2014 15:33 ISTModified On: Aug 8, 2014 15:37 IST

Union Labour and Employment Minister Narendra Singh Tomar tabled two Labour Reform Bills in the Lok Sabha on 7 August 2014. The two bills are The Factories (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Apprentices (Amendment) Bill 2014.

The two bills aim at enabling the government to make certain rules in consultation with the States to ensure safety and welfare of workers at workplace.

The purpose is to reform years-old Labour Laws- the Factories Act 1948 and the Apprentices Act 1961. They would be intended to generate more employment opportunities in the nation.  Besides, it would make it easier to do business in India, with provisions to allow flexibility in both hiring and working hours.

Earlier on 30 July 2014, Union Cabinet approved the amendments to labour laws.

The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014 centres on five proposed changes:

  • Improving workers’ safety
  • Increasing the provision for overtime
  • Increasing the penalty for violations of the Act
  • Relaxing the norms for women to work night shifts in some industry segments
  • Reducing the number of days an employee needs to work before becoming eligible for benefits such as paid leave.

Main provisions of the Factories Bill, 2014

  • It seeks to allow women to work at night between 7 PM and 6 AM, provided their work places have sufficient amenities and ensure their safety
  • It allows prosecution of factory owners to be commuted to penalties for minor offences
  • It doubles the provision of overtime from 50 hours a quarter to 100 hours in some cases, and from 75 hours to 125 hours per quarter in occupations related to public interest with the approval of state governments
  • It also proposes to change the eligibility criteria for entitlement of annual leave with pay.
  • It cuts the minimum number of days employees must have worked to claim the benefit from 240 to 90 days.
  • Wilful obstruction of an inspector from carrying out his duties will be slapped with a penalty of 30000 rupees from 10000 rupees
  • In case of double employment of a child, both the parents as well the person benefiting from him could be slapped 3000 rupees now instead of 1000 rupees imposed earlier.

The Main highlights of the Apprentices (Amendment) Bill 2014

  • Training of non-engineers as apprentices
  • Expand employment opportunities
  • Appointment of apprentice from employer’s native state
  • Allows employer to formulate its own policy of recruitment
  • Proposes to expand the scope of employment for apprentices and push for the induction of more non-engineers as apprentices.
  • Aims at allowing young job seekers and students to gain industry-relevant skills on the shop floor.
  • Allows industries to appoint apprentices from a different state from where the employer is located.
  • Every employer allowed formulating its own policy on recruiting apprentices who have completed training in the employer’s establishment.

The Factories Act 1948

The Factories Act 1948, law related to the regulation of labour working in factories, was embodied in the Factories Act, 1934. Receiving assent in September 1948, the act came into force in April 1949 as the Factories Act 1948.

The Act was amended several times thereafter but the framework remained the same. The Act was first amended in 1954 through the Factories (Amendment) Act, 1954 followed by two more amendments- The Factories (Amendment) Act, 1976 and The Factories (Amendment) Act, 1987.

The Apprentices Act 1961

Enacted in 1961, the Apprentices Act came into force in 1962. The Act was enacted for regulating the programme of training of employees working as apprentices in the company. It makes it mandatory for the employers of private and public sectors to have required training infrastructure as laid down in the Act.

The Apprentices Act 1961 was first amended in 1973 through the Apprentices (Amendment) Bill 1973 for induction of graduate engineers as "Graduate" Apprentices. The Act was further amended through the Apprentices (Amendment) Bill 1986 to include training of 10+2 vocational stream as "Technician (Vocational)" Apprentices.

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