The coronavirus-led crisis in India has made many states to ease labour laws in order to give a fillip to the economy and attract more investment. After Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced relaxation in its labour laws, Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh government has come up with a mega amendment in its labour laws. The latest move by the UP government has exempted businesses from the purview of almost all the labour laws for the next three years. The laws that are relaxed include those related to settling industrial disputes, occupational safety, health and working conditions of workers, and those related to trade unions, contract workers, and migrant labourers.
However, Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996; Workmen Compensation Act, 1923; Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976; and Section 5 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 (the right to receive timely wages), will remain intact for both the existing businesses and the new factories being set up in the state. The state government’s statement said that the decision is taken in the wake of losses incurred to businesses and economic activities.
State-wise details of amendments in labour laws:
Madhya Pradesh: CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced to abolish the requisite to fill 61 registers and 13 returns, instead only one register and the return will be sufficient to take license. He also allowed overtime of up to 72 hours and the period of working shifts in factories to increase from 8 hours to 12 hours. In another major relaxation the state government said that there will be no inspection in the firms employing less than 50 workers and in the small and medium enterprises, the inspection will take place only with the permission of the labour commissioner or in case of complaint.
Uttar Pradesh: Yogi Adityanath-led government defunct the labour laws (except three laws and one provision) for the next three years to provide a cushion to the sagging businesses and factories in the state. Now, the industrial units will also not have to worry about inspection or enforcement officials knocking on their doors as they would not be looking if the labour laws are implemented.
Rajasthan: Apart from raising the working hours from 8 hours per day to 12 hours per day, the state has amended Industrial Disputes Act to increase the threshold for lay-offs and retrenchment to 300 from 100 earlier. In order to recognise the trade union, the threshold membership of the trade union has been increased from 15 per cent to 30 per cent.
Maharashtra: All the shops and factories are asked to submit consolidated annual returns instead of multiple returns under various labour laws.
Kerala: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said if the investor agrees to complete formalities in a year, the state government would facilitate new industrial licence within a week after the application is filed.
Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat: These three states have also amended their Factories Acts in the last month to increase the work time to 12 hours every day and 72 hours every week, compared to 8 hours every day and 48 hours every week.