Many amendments have been/ are being made in the labour laws area over the past few years. Some of these are listed below for your convenience.
THE MATERNITY BENEFIT (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2017
Amendment to duration of maternity leave
# The duration of the maternity leave has been increased from 12 to 26 weeks. This leave can be availed up to 8 weeks prior to the date of expected delivery (as opposed to the earlier 6 weeks).
# A mother having 3rd or more children shall be allowed maternity leave of 12 with option of 6 weeks prior to expected date of delivery.
The following new provisions have added by the amendment:
# Maternity leave up to 12 weeks for adoptive mothers (if adopted baby is less than 3 months of age) and biological mother who uses her egg to have a surrogate child (commissioning mothers)
# Crèche facilities Shall have to be provided by an establishment with 50 or more employees. Such creche would be situated within a prescribed distance and the mother would be allowed up to 4 visits to the crèche.
# Option to work from Home If possible, an employer shall permit a woman employee to work from home. This benefit can be availed by a women employee even after the completion of her maternity leave till a period mutually decided by the employer and employee.
# Employer to inform the woman of maternity benefits At the time of employment, every woman employee shall be informed (by the employer), either in writing or electronically, of the maternity benefits available to her.
THE CHILD LABOUR (PROHIBITION AND REGULATION) AMENDMENT ACT, 2016
New Category of person called "Adolescent" The term adolescent has been revised to mean any person between the age of 14 to 18. Consequently, any person who is less than 14 years of age or of the age provided under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, whichever is more, shall be deemed a child.
Prohibition of employment of children in any occupation and process. A child is prohibited from employment in any kind of occupation unless such employment is held to help his family and that too, after school hours.
Power of Central Govt. The Government shall hold the power to add or omit any hazardous occupation and process from the list of occupations as included in the amendment.
Penalty The penalty for violation of the provisions of the Act as amended have been enhanced- 6 months to 2 years as opposed to 3 months to 1 year. The fine has been increased from INR 20,000 to 50,000 instead of INR 10,000 to 20,000.
Schedule- List of hazardous occupations and processes List of hazardous occupations and processes has been condensed to only occupations related to mining and explosives and/or inflammable substances. The list earlier contained 18 occupations. Hazardous processes as mentioned under the Factories Act, 1948 (earlier the list contained 65 processes).
THE EMPLOYEES' STATE INSURANCE (CENTRAL) AMENDMENT RULES, 2016
The Employees' State Insurance Rules, 1950 ensure implementation of the provisions of the Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948. The Rules have been amended 4 times since June 2016.
Amendments with effect from June 14, 2016
Employee exempted from contribution An employee whose average daily wage is up to INR 137 is exempted from contribution.Earlier there was a mandatory contribution requirement of INR 100
October 6, 2016
Rates of employer's and employee's contribution In areas where the Act is implemented for the first time, the rates of contribution for initial 24 months: Employer - 3% of the wages Employee - 1% of the wages.
December 22, 2016
Wage limit for coverage of an employee Wage limit for coverage of an employee has been enhanced from INR 15,000 to 21,00013
January 20, 2017
Insured Mother Includes a commissioning mother and an adopting mother.
THE PAYMENT OF WAGES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2017
The Payment of Wages (Amendment) Act, 2017 changes the method of payment of wages to the employees. Post amendment, an employer can pay wages to their employees in any of the following manners without the need to obtain a written authorisation. Such authorisation was mandatory before the amendment.
in coin or currency notes; or
by cheque; or
by crediting them into his bank account.
Wherever an establishment is required to pay wages to employees by was of cheque or credit to employee’s bank account (instead of direct cash payment), they shall be so intimated by the concerned Government authority.
Ease of Compliance Rules, 2017
In order to facilitate the ease of doing business in India, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has notified the Ease of Compliance Rules to maintain registers under various labour laws. These Rules have been in effect since February 21, 2017.
Before these Rules were brought about, largely every labour statute required an employer to maintain elaborate registers with the employees personal details as well as working hours, overtime, wages, leaves etc. This often results in duplication of efforts causing unnecessary waste of time and resources. In order to remedy this lacuna in the Indian labour laws, the new Rules have introduced a combined register format. Such registers may be maintained electronically or otherwise and no separate prior permission is required for the same. This eases and ensures smoother compliance of labour laws to a great extent.
The enactments on which these rules would be applicable are:
- Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996
- Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
- Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
-I nter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979
- Mines Act, 1952
- Minimum Wages Act, 1948
- Payment of Wages Act, 1936
- Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976 and
- Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955
Other initiatives by the Central Government
In order to further enhance the "Ease of Doing Business" initiative undertaken by the Government of India, the Ministry of Labour & Employment has introduced an online registration process for the Employees' Provident Fund Origination ("EPFO") and the Employee's State Insurance Corporation ("ESIC"). This shall not have any registration cost or manual intervention. Additionally, an employer may provide for the registration of both EPFO and ESIC through the common registration form available at the e-Biz Portal of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion ("DIPP") since March 9, 2016. Now, a common Electronic Cum Challan Receipt ("ECR") for both EPFO and ESIC on Shram Suvidha Portal can also be filed online by organisations.
Further, the Ministry has launched a common registration service on the e-biz Portal of DIPP for 5 Central Labour Laws including Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, Employees State Insurance Act, 1948, Building & Other Construction Workers (Regulations of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 and Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulations of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.
A single online common Annual Return under 9 Central Labour Acts has been made operational on Shram Suvidha Portal since April 24, 2015. This ensures simplified filings of a single online return by the establishments instead of filing separate returns, under the said 9 Acts
Hope you find these useful.
Request all members to update this post with any additional information or remarks they might have.
15th November 2017 From India , Delhi