Representatives of employers' associations had a discussion with Union Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Gangwar over a webinar on May 6, and presented a list of suggestions to help the industry recover from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the proposals are: increase in daily working hours to 12 hours, suspension of most labour laws for the next 2-3 years, salaries to be covered under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenses, reduction of social security costs for both employer and employee, subsidised power, and a financial package for industry.
Over the last couple of days, the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have suspended several key Labour Laws, barring a few.
Following is the full list of suggestions submitted by representatives of employer organisations to the Labour Ministry:
Relaxation of the provisions of Industrial Disputes Act to treat the lockdown period as lay-off;
Keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the industry and liquidity crisis, the wages paid by to the workers may be covered under expenses under CSR funds;
To increase the maximum limit of 33 percent workforce to at least 50 percent of the workforce after the reopening of the industry to allow an increase of goods and services to the optimum level;
To waive the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana's condition of covering only those enterprises whose 90 percent or more employees were drawing monthly wages less than Rs 15,000 under the Scheme so that more workers can be covered under the scheme;
To suspend the labour laws for the next 2-3 years except the provisions like minimum wages, bonus and statutory dues, to help industry to come out of the present crisis;
To increase the working hours to 12 hours per day.
To provide an appropriate package to the industries so that the business is sustainable and there is no loss of job opportunities.
Power supply to the industry may be provided at subsidized rates.
A programme for return of these migrant labour to work by providing counseling to alleviate their fears on Covid-19, providing financial help for their transportation, providing free groceries for about six months
To create a databank of migrant labour.
To create a national epidemic fund to help the workers of unorganized sector and daily wagers.
Reduce social security costs on both employees and employers.
Instead of different zones like red, orange and green, there should only be zones viz. containment zone and non-containment zones to facilitate easy movement of workers and goods. Allow all activities in the non-containment zones.