Occupational safety code passage likely in Budget session: Union minister Santosh Gangwar

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New Delhi | Published: November 14, 2019 4:14:59 AM

The Centre will seek the passage of the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH) Code in the next Budget session of Parliament for approval, Union labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said on Wednesday.

The government intends to subsume 44 labour laws into four codes to improve the ease of doing business and attract investment for spurring growth.

The Centre will seek the passage of the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions (OSH) Code in the next Budget session of Parliament for approval, Union labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said on Wednesday.

On August 2, Parliament approved the first of the four proposed codes – Code on Wages, 2019 – that sought to extend the benefit of obligatory minimum wages to all workers and not just those in ‘scheduled employments’.

The government intends to subsume 44 labour laws into four codes to improve the ease of doing business and attract investment for spurring growth. Besides the codes on wages and occupational safety, the Centre is in the process of bringing in codes on social security and industrial relations.

The OSH Code, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 23 this year, proposed to enhance the safety coverage of workers manifold and also merge 13 central labour laws into a single code which would apply to all establishments employing 10 or more workers. It has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for review on October 9 and the panel is expected to submit its report by January 9, 2020, days ahead of the beginning of the Budget session (last week of January).

“We will definitely bring the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code in the Budget Session,” Gangwar said on the sidelines of an event of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

The labour ministry had circulated a preliminary draft of the Code on Social Security, 2019 in September for consultation and feedback from stakeholders. It would subsume a clutch of existing laws and proposed new initiatives such as an universal social security for unorganized sector workers and insurance benefits for gig workers including the radio taxi drivers as well as corporatisation of EPFO and ESIC.

Gangwar said that the government was pushing all four codes to become a reality as soon as possible. “There is tripartite process to firm up draft laws on labour issues. We don’t want to do anything in haste. The discussions are on. We want to bring those to Parliament at the earliest,” the minister said, when asked about status of the codes on social security and industrial relations.

The Code on OSH proposes one registration for an establishment instead of multiple registrations. Further, for overtime work, it mandates that the worker must be paid twice the rate of daily wages. No employee (except motor transport workers) may work for more than six days a week and has a provision of a free of cost annual health checks-up for employees above prescribed age.

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