State governments dilute key labour laws in the name of ‘generating employment’

Karnataka: Government defers payment of VDA for 1 year

21 July 2020: Karnataka government has deferred payment of Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA) from the employer for a period of 1 year i.e., April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021. The demand for deferring payment of VDA was raised by the industry bodies and the department of MSME for a period of 4-months however, the Labour Department in its notification mentioned that in the current “emergency situation”, payment of VDA that is part of the minimum wage can be put off for 1 year.

Odisha: Government announces Rs.50 lakh to kin of frontline workers who die of COVID-19 on duty

18 July 2020: Odisha government has announced an assistance of Rs 50 lakh to the next of the kin of the persons engaged by the government or any of its agencies in Covid-19 duty if they succumb to the disease and not found eligible for insurance coverage under the guidelines set by the Centre. The next of the kin of such worker will receive Rs.7,500 per month till the date she would have attained the age of 60 years had she survived.

Telangana: Government to pay 10% additional wages to frontline workers

18 July 2020: Telangana government will pay an additional 10% wage to government doctors, paramedical staff, and all workers employed in the in the health department, including contractual and agency workers, policemen, and sanitation workers in municipalities and panchayats. An additional sum of Rs.100 crore has been allotted to the health department to implement the move.

State governments dilute key labour laws in the name of ‘generating employment’

Gujarat amends Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and Contract Labour Act, 1970

16 July 2020: Gujarat government has amended the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to raise the limit of firing workers without prior state approval from existing 100 to 300 workmen. To further aid the employers on a firing spree the government has amended provisions of notice period and severance pay from existing 3 months notice or wages for the notice period to an amount equivalent to last 3 months average pay.

Furthermore, it has amended the provisions requiring licensing and registration of establishments and/or contractors employing contract workers under the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970. The limit for mandatory licensing and registration has been raised from existing 20 to 50 workmen.

Goa: Cabinet approves amendments in Contract Labour Act, 1970

16 July 2020: The Goa state cabinet has approved amendments to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970. The amendment exempts establishments and contractors employing upto 50 workmen on contract from seeking any registration or licences. Earlier the limit for exemption from licensing and registration was set to employment of 20 workmen.

Centre amends MNREGS to include construction work under Swacch Bharat Mission

06 July 2020: Faced with an unprecedented unemployment crisis in rural areas due to lockdown triggered migration of workers back to their villages, the Central government has decided to expand the ambit of work under MNREGA to create new employment opportunities. “Unskilled wage component for construction of Community Sanitary Complexes in convergence with Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen)” has been added to schedule 1 of the MGNREGS where it talks about “Rural sanitation related works, such as, individual household latrines, School toilet units, Anganwadi toilets either independently or in convergence with schemes of other Government Departments to achieve “open defecation free‟ status, and solid and liquid waste management.

The move is aimed at ensuring 100 days of manual work to at least one member of every rural household as promulgated under MNREGA.

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