A New Labour Law to be placed before Parliament

The Narendra Modi government is contemplating to introduce a new Bill in the forthcoming Parliament session to revamp the country’s complex, myriad labour laws.

According to Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, the new legislation, according to sources, will extend the applicability of the Minimum Wages Act to workers in the informal sector as well. At present, the Minimum Wages Act is limited to certain areas of employment.

The decision was taken in an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah, attended by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, and Commerce and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

The move will help investors and accelerate growth as the proposed legislation would merge 44 labour laws under four categories — wages, social security, industrial safety and welfare, and industrial relations — officials said, adding that government may repeal certain archaic labour laws.

Sources said the Bill will have provisions for maternity benefits, pension, minimum wage, health insurance, and skill development training to all workers, including those from informal sector — domestic helps, construction workers, agricultural workers, film artists, vendors, etc.

The Bill is likely to be introduced in the coming session of Parliament. “All major labour unions in the country were consulted by the government for the new labour laws,” Gangwar told reporters after the two-hour meeting.

Several industrial safety and welfare laws such as the Factories Act, the Mines Act and the Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, will be merged to create a single category on industrial safety and welfare.

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