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Changes being finalised to Child Labour Act, Apprenticeship Act & Minimum Wage Act

The ministry of labour and employment will soon seek Cabinet approval for amendments to three archaic labour laws, kickstarting a long-pending revamp of labour market rules with the aim of benefitting workers and increasing productivity.

The ministry is finalising changes to the Child Labour Act of 1986, the Minimum Wage Act of 1948 and the Apprenticeship Act of 1961, a senior official told ET. The proposed amendments will be put up before the Cabinet next week, after which they will be introduced in Parliament in the ongoing budget session, the official, who did not wish to be named, said. Parliament’s budget session ends on August 14.

“The ministry is keen to see these amendments going through in the current session and I see no hindrance in getting them passed in Parliament. We are finalising the amendments proposed to the above laws by incorporating the views of various stakeholders,” the official said.

Meanwhile, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, minister of state for labour and employment Vishnu Deo Sai said, “Government is actively considering amendments to various labour laws. The interministerial/public/tripartite consultations is in progress.” Although most of these politically-sensitive proposals were taken up by the previous UPA government, none could be concluded. However, this time round, they are unlikely to face any hurdles as the BJP-led NDA government enjoys a majority in Parliament and the Congress, or its allies, are unlikely to raise objections.

As part of the amendments proposed to the Minimum Wage Act,

the ministry will set a national floor for minimum wages for workers across professions, resulting in a significant jump in salaries for workers in the unorganised sector. The minimum wages would be revised every five years by the Centre in accordance with the NSSO’s Consumer Expenditure Survey. It would also be revised every six months by state governments in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.

In the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, the amendments will bar children between 14 and 18 years from taking up hazardous works such as mining related jobs. At present, children under 14 years can work except in prohibited sectors such as domestic work, auto workshops, bidi making, carpet weaving, handloom and powerloom industry, and mines. The move is significant as child labour accounts for 8.5% of the 312 million-strong workforce in India. Of these, 43.53 lakh children are between 5 and 14 years of age, as per the Census 2011.

The government’s emphasis on skill development will also lead to amendment to the Apprenticeship Act over the next one month, in line with the announcement made by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech.

The key changes proposed include dropping the clause that mandates imprisonment of company directors who fail to implement the Apprenticeship Act of 1961 and doing away with an amendment proposed by the UPA mandating employers to absorb at least half of its apprentices in regular jobs, besides adding 500 new trades and vocations under the scheme

From India, Mumbai
Dear Tushar ji,
Thanks for your updates.
One more proposal to reduce the threshold limit to 10 persons for coverage of firms under the EPF Act is likely to pass. Yesterday the Minister of State for Labour Mr. Vishnu Deo Sai said it in written reply to Rajya Sabha.

From India, Mumbai
Dear All,

Given below is the clipping of Business Standard dated August 1, 2014, for your information.

Seeking to provide both the employers and the employees with a win-win situation, the Narendra Modi government cleared proposals to amend three labour laws which it plans to bring in Parliament in the ongoing Budget session.

The Union Cabinet has cleared amendments to the Factories Act, the Apprentices Act and the Labour Laws (exemption from furnishing returns and maintaining registers by certain establishments) Act to make them more compatible and beneficial for labourers and employers.

"Cabinet has given its approval (for the amendments). The amendments would be beneficial for the labourers. We expect that it will be tabled in the present session of Parliament," Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said here today.

It is learnt that the amendments to the Factories Act, 1948 would have provisions for adequate safety for women working on night shift and provide transport after work.

Certain norms have also been relaxed to ensure women were able to work in night shifts.

Some of the other proposed changes in the Act include improved safety of workers, doubling the provision of overtime from 50 hours a quarter to 100 hours in some cases and from 75 hours to 125 hours in other work of public interest and others.

According to an amendment proposed in the Apprentices Act, it will now not be compulsory for an employer to absorb 50 per cent of the apprentices as permanent employees.

Another amendment to the Act will enable to add 500 new skills and vocations in the industry, including those related to the IT sector.

One of the amendments to the Factories Act states that now employees can avail leave with pay after completing 90 days in job. The earlier stipulation was 240 days.

Minister of State Labour and Employment Vishnu Deo Sai had also said that the amendment to the Factories Act was to make it more compatible to the requirement of the present scenario in industrial sector.

However, trade unions rued about this "unilateral approach" taken up by the government and said whatever reported amendments have been done, they did not have any knowledge about it and they came to know about it through news reports.

The Central Trade Unions are likely to meet soon to decide action programme against such "hasty employer friendly amendments" in the name of development, they said.

From India, Mumbai
Dear All,

Following are the HIGHLIGHTS of proposed amendments:


 Discrimination in terms of gender to be removed; women to be allowed to work at night provided their work places have sufficient amenities and ensure safety.

 Prosecution of factory owners to be commuted to penalties for minor offences.

 Doubling the provision of overtime from 50 hours a quarter to 100 hours in some cases; and from 75 hours to 125 hours per quarter in occupations related to public interest with the approval of state governments.

 Reduction in the eligibility criteria for entitlement of annual leave with pay for employees after rendering service for 90 days than the previous provision of 240 days.

 Improved facilities like canteens, rest rooms, lunch rooms, and shelter provision in certain categories of factories.


 Up to 10% of workforce can be employed as apprentices on the shop floor.

 Government to push non-engineers to get appointed as apprentices; currently it’s largely the engineering students.

 Monetary compensation ceiling enhanced for apprentices. In the first year, an apprentice will get 70% of a semi-skilled worker’s, to be raised 80% in the second and 90% in the third year.

 Government to shoulder 50% of the compensation for apprentices deployed in small-scale industries


 Exemption for small industries employing up to 40 workers from furnishing separate compliance returns for 16 labour laws. To benefit tens of thousands of SMEs.

 One-page compliance report will suffice.

From India, Mumbai
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