While we would be celebrating Maharashtra Diwas on May 1st, there are many states in India that would be celebrating Labour Day, a reminder that the labour needs to be valued and respected across sectors. Something that is unfortunate is that the labour laws in India are still archaic and have been in existence since our independence days. With the largest youth population under 35 years of age, India has all the potential of becoming a super economy.
Labour is one of the costliest resources in advanced countries, and those countries not having enough of it, look for cheaper alternatives, which they find in countries like India, Bangladesh or China. With the kind of young and able work force that we have in India, our government needs to create more jobs for the youth along with implementing robust labour laws in place. Also, it is equally imperative for the employees to be aware of the existing laws, rights and reforms.
The biggest advantage India has is its youth population, which needs to be harnessed in order to expedite the economic growth. The biggest impediment, however, is the rigidity of labour laws in our country. The inflexibility of the laws is a major reason behind reduced employment opportunities. Our country needs more flexibility in employee engagement and hiring policies.
There are a few labour laws that every employee should be aware of. There are instances where the employees are less informed about the laws that are created to protect them. Such laws not only specify working hours but also provide for overtime pay to workers who work beyond their shift. No woman worker is supposed to work between 10 PM and 5 AM. In case of a night shift, a notice has to be given 24 hours before the shift.
Gratuity, which is a retirement benefit paid as a token of thanks for the services offered is a right of an employee who has worked with an organization with 10 or more employees and who has worked for than 12 months or more. Gratuity is the last drawn salary multiplied by the number of years of service. If the employer fails to pay the gratuity, he can face imprisonment from 6 months to 2 years.
Another critical point to be noted is the act that prevents discrimination among workers on the basis of gender. Employers cannot discriminate among genders in matter of wages, promotion, training and transfer. The act provides for equal remuneration to both men and women for the same work done.
Indian labour laws do need a complete overhaul in order to make the working conditions better for the employees and once this is achieved and the safeguards come into effect, we’ll see the rights of the workers being protected and abided by. Simplifying and revamping the labour laws accompanied by a renewed thrust on enforcement will be big game changer for a developing nation like India in not only retaining the local talent but attracting more companies to invest in our country as well.