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Parliament passes three remaining labour code Bills

Rajya Sabha passed the controversial labour bills that relax norms for winding up of companies and allow firing of staff without government permission in firms with up to 300 workers.

This completes the Parliamentary procedure to pass the Bills.

The Bills were passed in Rajya Sabha unanimously with voice vote amid a boycott by opposition parties including Congress and Leftover suspension of eight members of the House. They were passed by Lok Sabha on Tuesday and these will now be sent to the President for his assent.

The Bills pertain to the three remaining labour codes on industrial relations, social security and occupational safety.

Replying to the debate on the three labour reforms Bills, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said, “The purpose of labour reforms is to provide a transparent system to suit the changed business environment”.

Gangwar also told the House that as many as 16 states have already increased the threshold for closure, lay off and retrenchment in firms with up to 300 workers without government permission. He said that the increase in threshold would result in job creation and encourage employers to hire.

The Minister said these Bills would safeguard the interest of workers and provide universal social security to workers by expanding the ambit of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation and Employees’ State Corporation of India. He also said that there would be a social security fund to cover around 40 crore unorganised sector workers.

Over 29 labour laws have been merged into four codes and one (Code on Wages Bill, 2019) of them has already been passed, the minister said.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, will consolidate and amend the laws regulating the occupational safety, health and working conditions of persons employed in an establishment and related matters.

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to trade unions, conditions of employment in industrial establishments or undertaking, investigation and settlement of industrial disputes.

The Code on Social Security, 2020, will amend and consolidate laws relating to social security with the goal to extend social security to all employees and workers either in the organised sector or the unorganised sector.