Wait for Le­gal Sta­tus may Get Longer for Con­tract Work­ers

Labour min­istry re­con­sid­er­ing ear­lier de­ci­sion to for­malise con­tract work­ers, draft bill on hold

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Yogima.Sharma @times­group.com

New Delhi: The gov­ern­ment is re-ex­am­in­ing its ear­lier de­ci­sion to grant le­gal sta­tus to con­tract work­ers by amend­ing the Con­tract Labour Act, po­ten­tially de­lay­ing the process of for­mal­i­sa­tion of a large sec­tion of the coun­try’s work­force.

The devel­op­ment is likely to hit con­tract work­ers, who are of­ten de­prived of any so­cial se­cu­rity ben­e­fits, be­sides staffing firms that are fac­ing im­mense reg­u­la­tory hur­dles, thus slow­ing down the process of en­hanc­ing ease of do­ing busi­ness in the coun­try.

Ase­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial told ET that the Ban­daru Dat­ta­treyaled labour min­istry has gone back to the draw­ing board as far as reg­u­lat­ing the ap­point­ment of con­tract work­ers is con­cerned and is think­ing afresh on the is­sue.

“While the draft bill of 2015 has been put on hold, the min­istry is eval­u­at­ing op­tions to reg­u­late ap­point­ment of con­tract work­ers un­der one of the four codes now,” the of­fi­cial said, re­quest­ing anonymity. Both the gov­ern­ment and the cor­po­rate sec­tor em­ploy a large num­ber of con­tract work­ers. Con­tract labour ac­counts for 55% of pub­lic sec­tor jobs and 45% of those in the pri­vate sec­tor.

For more than two years, the labour min­istry has been work­ing on labour codes on wages, in­dus­trial re­la­tions, so­cial se­cu­rity and wel­fare, and safety and work­ing con­di­tions to sim­plify, ra­tio­nalise and amal­ga­mate 44 labour laws into four labour codes.

The ex­ist­ing Con­tact Labour (Reg­u­la­tion & Abo­li­tion) Act de­nies ad­e­quate le­gal pro­tec­tion to con­tract work­ers and is seen as dis­cour­ag­ing the for­mal­i­sa­tion of the labour force, thus de­priv­ing many em­ployed in the in­for­mal sec­tor of ad­e­quate safe­guards.

Since 2015, the min­istry along with var­i­ous stake­hold­ers has been con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous op­tions to grant con­tract work­ers le­gal sta­tus, pri­mar­ily the pro­posal to drop the word ‘abo­li­tion’ from the law and giv­ing staffing firms a na­tional li­cence.

Even a draft bill on the con­tract labour (reg­u­la­tion and abo­li­tion), 2015 had been put in place for stake­holder con­sul­ta­tion.

The bill, which pro­vided for a pro­vi­sion of li­cence be­sides defi-

For more than two years, the labour min­istry has been work­ing on labour codes on wages

Ex­ist­ing Con­tact Labour (Reg­u­la­tion & Abo­li­tion) Act de­nies ad­e­quate le­gal pro­tec­tion to con­tract work­ers

ning con­trac­tor and es­tab­lish­ments to be cov­ered un­der the Act, has now been put on the back­burner af­ter nearly two years of in­tense ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The num­ber of con­tract labour­ers in the coun­try is on the rise pri­mar­ily be­cause they can be paid less than per­ma­nent work­ers and the ease with which they can be sacked.

About 300,000 con­tract labour­ers out of an es­ti­mated 80 mil­lion are em­ployed in the or­gan­ised sec­tor, de­priv­ing the vast ma­jor­ity of so­cial se­cu­rity ben­e­fits Con­tract labour ac­counts for 55% of pub­lic sec­tor, 45% of pri­vate sec­tor jobs

as they are part of the un­or­gan­ised sec­tor.

Con­ven­tion 181 of the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ILO) about pri­vate place­ment agency pre­scribes a tri­par­tite re­la­tion­ship in con­trac­tual hir­ing. While In­dia is one of the sig­na­to­ries of ILO, it is not among the big 42 coun­tries that have rat­i­fied this con­ven­tion.

ILO di­rec­tor gen­eral Guy Ry­der on his re­cent visit to In­dia said that the coun­try needs to make ef­forts to create more “de­cent jobs” and for­malise its work­force.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.