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4-day work week, free medical check-ups: Draft rules of new labour code

Ministry likely to complete the process to finalise the rules for 4 labour codes soon

INDIA-ECONOMY-LABOUR Representational image | AFP

The proposed labour codes set to be implemented soon would provide companies the flexibility to reduce the number of working days to four days a week and provide free medical check-ups to workers through the Employees State Insurance Corporation. Labour and Employment Secretary Apurva Chandra said on Monday the Ministry of Labour and Employment is also likely to complete the process to finalise the rules for four labour codes soon.

He said the concerns about the working hours going up from 10.5 hours to 12 hours, with one hour of rest, that arose during consultations had been addressed.

Under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 draft rules, the limit of working hours for a week was 48 hours. Chandra said this limit was “sacrosanct” and that employers and workers would have to agree to a change in working days. “It cannot be forced,” he said.

He added that ESIC would provide free medical check-ups to workers so the employer does not have to bear the costs.

“It (working days) could come down below five. If it is four, then you have to provide three paid holidays…so if it has to be a seven day week, then it has to be divided into 4 or 5 or 6 working days,” The Indian Express quoted Chandra as saying. He said the 48-hour weekly working hours limit will remain. “It is sacrosanct,” he said. The ministry is also progressing to roll out a web portal by June 2021 for registration and other facilities of workers in the unorganised sector, including gig and platform workers and migrant workers.

“Rule making process is already underway and likely to complete in the coming week. All stakeholders are also consulted in framing of rules. This ministry would soon be in a position to bring into force the four Codes, viz., Code on Wages, Industrial Relations, Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH) and Social Security Codes,” Chandra said in a media briefing.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment is likely to complete the process to finalise the rules under the four labour codes paving the way for making reforms are reality soon. 

The labour ministry had envisaged implementing the four labour codes from April 1 this year in one go. The ministry is in the final leg of amalgamating 44 central labour laws into four broad codes on wages, industrial relations, social security and OSH.

The ministry wants to implement all four codes in one go.

Chandra also told that the Labour Bureau, an attached office under this ministry, has started vigorously work on four new survey for Migrant workers, Domestic workers, Employment generated by Professionals and Transport Sector.

The Bureau will also commission ''All India Establishment based Employment Survey (AIEES)''.

Results of all these surveys are likely to come within eight to nine months from the start of actual field surveys, he added.

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