India Today - - CONTENT - By Kaushik Deka

Two labour re­form bills in­tro­duced by the gov­ern­ment in the Lok Sabha on July 23 evoked sharp re­ac­tions from var­i­ous stake­hold­ers. While the Code on Wages Bill, 2019 was passed by Par­lia­ment, the other bill—the Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety, Health and Work­ing Con­di­tions (OSHWC) Code, 2019—is still pend­ing in the Lok Sabha. On the face of it, the two bills look de­signed to en­sure worker wel­fare

as well as fa­cil­i­tate ease of busi­ness. The Code on Wages Bill seeks to im­prove the wage and bonus pay­ments rules, be­sides man­dat­ing a na­tional min­i­mum wage, and the OSHWC aims to im­prove work­ing con­di­tions. In Novem­ber 2018, the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­ga­ni­za­tion said that 31 per cent of In­dian work­ers were work­ing in un­healthy con­di­tions while around 41 per cent of them said they were poorly paid, giv­ing In­dia a bot­tom-end rank of #19 among 22 coun­tries of the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

The bills are be­ing mar­keted as the gov­ern­ment’s push to re­form and sim­plify the coun­try’s com­plex labour laws. For in­stance, ‘wages’ alone has 11 def­i­ni­tions un­der dif­fer­ent laws. The new pro­posed law will con­sol­i­date all cen­tral laws into four codes—wages, in­dus­trial re­la­tions, so­cial se­cu­rity, and in­dus­trial safety and wel­fare. The

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