We have already covered Code on Wages, Code on Industrial Relations, and Code on Social Security. In this article, we will discuss some of the important features of the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, 2020.
- The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, 2020 empowers the state government to exempt any new factory from the provisions of the Code in order to create more economic activity and employment.
Threshold for coverage of establishments
- Factory: The Code defines factory as the following
- 20 workers for premises where the manufacturing process is carried out using power, and
- 40 workers for premises where it is carried out without using power.
- Establishments engaged in hazardous activity: All establishments where any hazardous activity is carried out regardless of the number of workers.
- It specifies that the Code will apply to establishments or contractors employing 50 or more workers (on any day in the last one year).
- It prohibits contract labour in core activities, except where:
- the normal functioning of the establishment is such that the activity is ordinarily done through contractor,
- the activities are such that they do not require full time workers for the major portion of the day, or
- there is a sudden increase in the volume work in the core activity which needs to be completed in a specified time.
- The appropriate government will decide whether an activity of the establishment is a core activity or not.
- However, the Code contains a list of non-core activities where the prohibition would not apply. This includes a list of 11 works including sanitation workers, security services, and any activity of intermittent nature even if that constitutes a core activity of an establishment.
- The Code will apply to contract labour engaged through a contractor in the offices of the central and state governments (where the respective government is the principal employer).
Work hours and employment conditions
- Daily work hour limit: It fixes the maximum limit at eight hours per day.
- Employment of women: It provides that women will be entitled to be employed in all establishments for all types of work under the Code. It also provides that in case they are required to work in hazardous or dangerous operations, the government may require the employer to provide adequate safeguards prior to their employment.
Inter-state migrant workers and unorganized workers
- Definition It defines inter-state migrant worker as a person who:
- Has been recruited by an employer or contractor for working in another state, and
- Draws wages within the maximum amount notified by the central government.
- Any person who moves on his own to another state and obtains employment there will also be considered an inter-state migrant worker.
- are earning a maximum of Rs 18,000 per month, or such higher amount which the central government may notify.
- Database for inter-state migrant workers: It requires the central and state governments to maintain or record the details of inter-state migrant workers in a portal.
- An inter-state migrant worker can register himself on the portal on the basis of self-declaration and Aadhaar.
- Social Security Fund: It provides for the establishment of a Social Security Fund for the welfare of unorganised workers.
- The amount collected from certain penalties under the Code (including the amount collected through compounding) will be credited to the Fund.
- The government may prescribe other sources as well for transferring money to the Fund.
General Provision and Specific Provision
- It contains certain general provisions applicable to all workers and the additional special provisions applicable to specific categories of workers and establishments under the Code.
- General Provisions: These include provisions on registration, filing of returns, and duties of employers.
- Specific Provisions: It applies to specific type of workers such as those in factories and mines, or as audio-visual workers, journalists, sales promotion employees, contract labour and construction workers.
The Code bars civil courts from hearing any matters.
In some matters where persons are aggrieved by the orders of authorities, it provides for an administrative appellate authority to be notified.
However, it does not provide a judicial mechanism for hearing disputes under the Code.