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Proposed Labour Code offers universal minimum income, modifies definition of migrant workers: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

In her second press briefing, Sitharaman's announcements focused on migrants, street vendors, small farmers, small traders and the self-employed.

May 15, 2020 / 05:25 PM IST

While presenting the second tranche of measures in the economic stimulus package announced by PM Narendra Modi, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman shed light on the Labour Code, which is being discussed in the Parliament.

She said with the help of various ministries including the labour and environment ministries, 44 Acts related to labour laws are being contracted into a Labour Code.

Among its various postulates, the proposed code allows universalisation  minimum wages and the statutory concept of a 'National Floor Wage' so as to reduce regional disparity in minimum wages.

Track this blog for highlights from second day of FM press meet

In addition, it proposes to ensure timely payment of wages to all workers including unorganized workers.

"Presently, the minimum wages clause is applicable to only 30 percent of workers," Sitharaman said at the press briefing.

To promote formalisation, the code suggests giving appointment letters to all workers; social security scheme for gig and platform workers; and extension of ESIC coverage to all districts and all establishments employing 10 or more employees as against those in notified districts/areas only.

The code also proposes to modify the definition of inter-state migrant workers to include those employed directly by the employer, workers directly coming to destination state of their own, as well as the migrant workers employed through a contractor. This will ensure the portability of welfare benefits for migrant workers.

Other features of the code include:

- Simplifying fixation of minimum wages, leading to less number of rates of minimum wages and better compliance.

- Annual health check-ups for all employees.

- Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Code also applicable to establishments engaged in work of hazardous nature even with threshold of less than 10 workers.

- Extension of ESIC coverage to employees working in establishments with less than 10 employees on voluntary basis.

- Mandatory ESIC coverage through notification by the Central Government for employees in hazardous industries with less than 10 employees.

- Re-skilling fund introduced for retrenched employees.

- All occupations opened for women and permitted to work at night with safeguards.

- Provision for Social Security Fund for unorganized workers.

- Provision of gratuity on completion of one year service as against 5 years.

In her press briefing today, Sitharaman presented the second tranche of measures, which largely focus on migrants, street vendors, small farmers, small traders and the self employed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 12 had announced an economic stimulus to the tune of Rs 20 lakh crore, approximately 10 percent of India's GDP.

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first published: May 14, 2020 06:22 pm