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4-Day work – per week to be allowed as per the Centre’s new labour codes.

According to the government’s new labour codes, the center would soon provide an option for the organizations to allow their employees to work for four days a week.

Speaking in a press briefing, Labour Secretary Apurva Chandra said the new labour codes does not mean that it is forcing both the employers or the employees to adhere with provisions but instead provides flexibility to the companies of adopting a four-day workweek with an upper limit of 48 working hours per week.

While the remaining three days have to be paid leaves, companies can choose four, 12 – hour workdays a week with the employees’ consent.

According to the labor minister, the new labour codes have been brought in to provide flexibility and be in synergy with changing work culture in the country.

What does the new labour code say?

According to the new labour codes, the organizations will have three choices

  1. Employees working for four days at 12 hours per day
  2. Employees working for five days at 10 hours per day
  3. Employees working for six days at 8 hours per day

Hence, the provision provides for and comprises a work limit of 48 hours per week.

Under the provision, those who choose to work for four days at 12 hours per day will have to be given three days off by their employees.

Those who choose to work for five days at 10 hours per day will have to be given two off days before they move to the next week.

The labour secretary also added that they could be a few changes to the new provision in the final rules.

The Union labour ministry is in the final stages of finalizing the rules under the four labour codes – Code on Wages, Industrial Relations, Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH), and Social Security Codes.

According to the labour minister, the rule’s making is already in process and likely to complete in the coming week.

According to him, all stakeholders are also being consulted in framing these new rules, and the ministry is looking to implement all four codes in one go.

Work is also underway towards rolling out an online portal by June 2021 to register workers in the unorganized sector, including gig and platform workers and migrant workers.

According to the ministry, the portal will help in the formulation of health, housing, skill, insurance, credit, and food schemes for such workers.

These workers would also be provided with an incentive of free coverage for insurance coverage for one year for accidental and disability cover under the Center’sCenter’sCenter’sCenter’s Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)

What does India Inc Say?

India Inc has hailed the newly – enacted three labour codes saying that it will spur much-needed investment and create more jobs in the country; however, skeptics have also pointed out that the law is tilted in favour of the employers.

  • The reason for the same is the fact that it will make hiring and firing easy for the companies; it also makes it difficult for the unions to go on strike without giving a prior notice of 60- days.
  • The code on Industrial Relations also allows companies to fire up to 300 workers without prior government approval.
  • Given the short term of employment, organizations would prefer not to invest in skill training
  • Hence, according to experts, it will make the future uncertain for employees and put long term industrial relations at risk

While others disagree, saying that the millennials generation prefers easy and flexible employment terms.

Benefits for Employers

  1. The Threshold for retrenchment, closure of layoffs raised from 100 – 300 workers without requiring government approval
  2. Web-based inspection system to be introduced, inspector to become “”inspector-cum-facilitator” to end the “”inspector raj””.
  3. Both licenses and registrations to be issued online and within a stipulated time period.
  4. Compounding (settlement) in case of various offenses instead of prosecution
  5. Bargaining rights of workers reduced by providing for 60 days prior notice before going on any strike

Benefits for Employees

  1. Annual health checkups for workers
  2. Issuance of appointment letter
  3. Provision of accumulation of one day leave for every 20 days worked, this when work is done for 180 days instead of 240 days.
  4. Home Journey allowance once a year for migrant workers.
  5. EPFO coverage would apply to all establishments having 20 workers.

Meanwhile, the new codes have invited some anger as well; according to labour economists, employers have been extended a tremendous amount of labour flexibility in order to determine terms and conditions of service in a unilateral manner and also be able to dismiss workers on alleged acts of misconduct without even a domestic inquiry, thus making it easier for the companies.

The new labour codes’ announcement has also not gone down well with the labor unions who have registered their disapproval against some of the key changes in the labor law.

Why have these new labour codes been introduced by the government?

The three new labour codes have been formed in order to abridge, rationalize and consolidate state and central labour laws. Another reason for the same is to improve India’s position in the global “ease of doing business index” and to raise competitiveness at global levels.

In India, labor laws are among the most complex and one of the most highly debated issues.

However, a labour surplus economy like that of India should be protective of its workers. Still, at the same time, laws solely guided by this objective also makes it difficult for businesses to operate.

Hence, the implementation of the three new labour codes while could invite a lot of skepticism and unrest amongst the labor unions, but at the same time, it also incentivizes the ease of doing business for the companies.

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