Labour market reform bills to be introduced in monsoon session of Parliament

The government's key labour reforms bills on industrial relations, wages code, small factories and EPF are likely to be introduced in the next monsoon session of Parliament, sources said.

"The Labour Ministry has been working on bills like the ones on industrial relations, wages, EPF and small factories which would now be pushed in the monsoon session," a senior Labour Ministry official said.

It would be difficult to push any bill on labour reforms in the last leg of ongoing Budget Session which ends on May 3, the official said.

The bills, including Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill, 2014 and comprehensive amendment bill to Employees' Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provision Act 1952, are aimed at improving ease of doing business and boosting the 'Make in India' initiative.

The Labour Ministry has sought comments of the Law Ministry on Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Bill, which seeks to exempt units with up to 40 workers from 14 labour laws including EPF & MP Act 1952 and ESI Act 1948.

The workers' trade unions have expressed strong reservations against the bill.

Another bill which is facing strong opposition from the trade unions is the Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, which proposes to allow firms with up to 300 workers to retrench employees without government's prior permission and make it tougher to form unions.

The bill may be presented in the next monsoon session as a tripartite committee is examining the bill following strong reservations expressed by the unions recently.

The Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015, combines Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Trade Unions Act, 1926, and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

The Small Factories Bill would make comprehensive amendments to the EPF and MP Act, 1952. The bill seeks to provide workers an option between EPF scheme run by retirement fund body EPFO and New Pension Scheme (NPS).

This bill would be ready for Cabinet approval next week, but the chances of its introduction in Parliament are bleak, the official said.

The Labour Ministry has completed tripartite consultations on the Labour Code on Wages Bill 2015 which will also be pushed for passage in the next session, the official said.

The wages code will amalgamate provisions of the Minimum Wages Act 1948, The Payment of Wages Act 1936, The Payment of Bonus Act 1965, and The Equal Remuneration Act 1976.

The official said, "The Cabinet proposal for the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill is ready. But it could be put up for approval of the Cabinet by next week.

Thus it would be difficult to push the bill in Parliament in ongoing Budget session."

The bill provides for complete ban on working of children up to 14 years of age in any organised sector except if they help their parents in their venture after school hours.

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