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Labour Codes to allow four-day work week, ESIC coverage

Major reforms on the anvil for gig, informal and construction workers; budget proposal to bar employers from taking deduction of the delayed amount of social security, on cards

February 09, 2021 / 12:02 PM IST
Representative Image: (REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri)

Representative Image: (REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri)

The labour sector is set for important changes. The four new Labour Codes, to be implemented soon, will provide some employers flexibility of reducing the number of working days to four per week, Labour and Employment Secretary, Apurva Chandra, said on February 8.

He said that for a four-day work-week, the employer would have to provide three days of paid leave to an employee, as the working hours' cap has been set at 48 hours. This decision, the top official said, was taken after concerns raised during consultations that the working hours would increase from 10.5 hours to 12 hours.

Under the draft rules of the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, the weekly working hours limit has been set at 48 hours. The code will be applicable to all establishments and factories.

To reduce the burden on employers, the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) would provide free medical check-ups to workers, the Labour Secretary said.

According to Chandra, the Labour Ministry is formulating relevant rules and regulations to implement the four new Labour Codes in the next few weeks.

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He said most rules are in the process of being finalised. Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh are expected to be ready with their draft rules on Labour Codes this week.

Talking about the Union Budget announcement of creating a portal for informal workers, Chandra said that the platform will collect relevant information on gig, building and construction workers, among others. It will help formulate health, housing, skill, insurance, credit, and food schemes for migrant workers, he added.

The official said that the portal will be rolled out by May or June for registration and other facilities for workers in the unorganised sector. Workers enrolled on the portal will be provided with an incentive of accidental and disability cover under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bhima Yojana (PMSBY), which will be free for one year.

He also said that the Labour Bureau, an office attached to his ministry, has started working on four new surveys. The surveys include one each for migrant and domestic workers, employment generated by professionals and the transport sector. The Bureau will also commission the 'All India Establishment based Employment Survey (AIEES)'.

Results of all these surveys are likely to come within eight-nine months from the start of actual field appraisals, Chandra informed.

Talking about the budgetary proposal to bar employers from taking deduction of the delayed amount of social security contributions, Chandra said it will provide security of amount deducted by employer towards payment of contribution deducted from an employee on account of Employees Provident Fund and Employees Insurance Scheme.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Feb 9, 2021 12:02 pm

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