September 14, 2020 11:09:52 pm
The Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Monday passed three amendment Bills related to labour and industrial laws in the state. The Bills will be replacing ordinances promulgated in July without any modification.
The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, in its application to Himachal Pradesh, has been amended to include non-public utility services in the section dealing with prohibition of strikes by employees and lock-outs by employers.
According to another amendment in the Act, the compensation paid to a worker at the time of retrenchment has been enhanced from 15 days’ average pay to 60 days of average pay.
A chapter of the Act dealing with special provisions relating to lay-off, retrenchment and closure in certain establishments has been amended so that the chapter’s provisions will now apply to industrial establishments having not less than 200 workers on an average (it was 100 workers earlier).
Another Bill passed by the House was The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Himachal Pradesh Amendment Bill, 2020. According to the amendment, the Contract Labour Act in its application to the state will now apply to every establishment in which thirty or more workers are employed as contract labour (instead of twenty or more workers before the amendment).
The Factories Act, 1948, in its application to Himachal has also been amended. In the definition of factory, the existing threshold limits for the number of workers employed have been doubled from ‘ten’ and ‘twenty’ to ‘twenty’ and ‘forty’ respectively.
The maximum number of overtime hours permitted per worker per quarter have been increased from 75 hours to 115 hours “subject to the condition that overtime shall have to be paid twice the rate of ordinary wages”. Also, a new section has been introduced allowing compounding of offences punishable under the Act.
The amendments were opposed by members of the opposition Congress and the lone CPI(M) MLA, who argued that the amendments will lead to exploitation of employees, and will favour employers at the expense of their workers. Members of the ruling BJP, on the other hand, said the changes will increase ease of doing business, boost investment and provide more opportunities of employment. The Congress and CPI(M) walked out of the Assembly over the issue.
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