Difference between worker,workman and employee? - factories act
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difference between worker,workman and employee?

pracinno Started The Discussion:

Could anyone please tell me the legal difference worker,workman and employee in india?

samvedan - Senior Member


An "employee" can be either-a "worker" or a "workman"!
A "worker" may be a "workman" or an "employee"!!
A "workman" may be an "employee" or a "worker"!!!

But, fun apart, these terms have relevance and significance only in terms of the specific meaning attached to each of them by way of a "definition" for a particular law.

For example, "employee" is a general reference to anyone employed as provided in different act and outside of the act has no particular significance beyond that. "worker" is defined under the Factories Act and includes virtually everyone who enters the factory premises. "Workman" is defined undser the Industrial Disputes Act and specific import for labour legislation.

So depending upon the issue on hand, one will have to look in to the concerned to learn about the rights and obligations of the subject individual.

If you have a focussed querry kindly raise the same for a better treatment.

November 24, 2006

pracinno - 
Thank u samvedan!Yes,i need the answer in a particular reference.
1) which are the sets of laws that define worker,workman and employee or use them for their respective meanings
2)Why are there 3 different terms used by these acts.what is the logic behind the same?

For instance,as u rightly said:worker is a broad term and will include even an officer in its scope(and a seperate exemption has to be sought under section 64 of Factories Act).Where as in ID Act it refers only to a ceratin class of people demarcated based on their salary,and employee on the other hand is referred to in PF Act.

So,why is it that these acts have diff definitions when they more or less refer to the same set of people!!
Please do give ur inputs on the same.

samvedan - Senior Member

A comprehensive answer to your question is going to be a very complicated answer. Suffice it here to say that:

1) Each law passed by the parliament has a specific and defined "aims and objectives" that indicates the purpose of enacting the same legislation.

2) Broadly speaking, while Industrial Disputes Act is a disputes processing/settlement legislation, the Factories Act is a normative establishment legislation that provides for standards for safety, health, and similar related matters affecting working conditions for people employed in factories. Therefore, it is not, as though, if you are in the mangerial cadre, you have less hazards to you safety. So all those employed at the Factory (barring small exceptions as rightly pointed out by you) are given the same consideration in matters provided under the Factories Act. Here the question is NOT the status, salary or designation.

3) But in matters of processing disputes, the law makers have presumed (I wonder if rightly) that people of higher status or higher salary either have no disputes or are capable of resolving their disputes themselves. It for this reason the term "workman" is chosen and defined to indicate that class of employees who have more rights and protection than others as far as this act is considered.

4) It is a safe approach that while dealing with any matter, one checks up the provisions and the definitions before taking any positions.

5) It is possible but at least I have NOT found it necessary to list out various acts defining the terms like, "employee", "worker" and "workman". To that extent I am unable to help straight away on this issue.

November 24, 2006

pracinno - 
Thanks a ton Samvedan...U r really turning out to b my Godfather in ER and legal related queries:)
For now,ur answer makes sense,but will get back to u as and wen i have more doubts.Thank u once again
Pali Tripathi

mal - 

There is no difference. As a general while colour are called employee and blue collar are called workman. But if you talk about legal concept, there are different definition of workman/worker and employee under the various Labour Acts; like ID Act , ESI Act, Payment of Bonus Act, PF Act, Payment of Gratuity Act, Payment of Wages Act and Payment of minimum wages act etc...

ak malhotra

nalluchamy - 
I want to comment over this submission given by Mr.SomVedan, Senior Member,

But in matters of processing disputes, the law makers have presumed (I wonder if rightly) that people of higher status or higher salary either have no disputes or are capable of resolving their disputes themselves. It for this reason the term "workman" is chosen and defined to indicate that class of employees who have more rights and protection than others as far as this act is considered

My comments.

The ID Act definition of workman has been evolved by the legislators in the right spirit.
The Management of a company means not just the Directors, it includes all the Managerial people above the Supervisory cadre.

If these Managers and Supervisors are given the same status of workmen, everyone will have the hightly protective legal shield. And there won't any body to take care of the Management of the company, except the directors.

Hence in the right spirit it has been enacted. It is very well agreed that the Managers and the Supervisors do have issues and disputes. If there is some unresolved disputes and their rights are infringed, they can very well approach the Civil court through Rule 9 of the CPC.


Legaly there is no difference between workmen and woker, it may be a simple terminolgy of the management, but if legaly seen it is just like a question " Who was born/created first Hen or Egg ?"

sir, I have some doubts. 1. Who all are comes under "Worker / Workman" as per Factories Act,1948. 2. Is HR Manager, Finance Manager comes under "Worker / Workman" category. Thanks T.S.Krishna Prasath

paradoxical123 - Contributing Member
As per Section 9 of Apprentices Act,

"Where an employer employs in his establishment five hundred or more workers, the basic training shall be imparted to 4[ the trade apprentices] either in separate parts of the workshop building or in a separate building which shall be set up by the employer himself, but the appropriate Government may grant loans to the employer on easy terms and repayable by easy instalments to meet the cost of the land, construction and equipment for such separate building."

Are only permanent workers to be included in this count or temporary/ casual workers also?

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