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Political Exchange: New labour reforms which subsume 25 central laws passed; experts discuss

Updated : September 23, 2020 09:40 PM IST

Three labour codes, which subsume as many as 25 central laws were cleared by the Lok Sabha yesterday and sailed through the Rajya Sabha today, September 23, with the opposition in absentia.

The three labour codes, on social security, industrial relations and occupational safety were discussed and cleared by a virtually empty upper house in less than two hours. A fourth labour code on wages had been cleared by the parliament last year. So what are the changes?

First, firms which employ less than 300 people will no longer need to take central or state government's permission before closure, lay-off, or retrenchment of employees. Earlier the threshold stood at 100 employees.

According to the industries survey of the fiscal year 2018, 81 percent of registered factories have less than 100 workers.

Further, the new labour codes highlight that no person employed in an industrial establishment can go on a strike without a 14-day notice.

Also, any strike during and up to sixty days after proceedings before a tribunal has been prohibited.

When it comes to a new establishment, the central or state government can in public interest exempt them from the labour code provisions. The factories act, 1948 permitted exemptions from its provisions only in cases of public emergency, and limited such exemption to three months.

The government says that the new labour codes will give industry greater flexibility in hiring and retrenchment and facilitate ease of doing business. It also says that the new laws will give workers better social security and bargaining powers.

To discuss this forward CNBC-TV18 is in conversation with KR Shyam Sundar, Professor- Human Resources Management at Xavier School of Management, MS Unnikrishnan, Chairman of CII National Committee on Industrial Relations and Vaidya Nathan, Faculty Director at ISB.
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