Karnataka to join new labour league, to amend labour laws to bail out industrial sector : 12-05-2020

Karnataka is set to amend labour laws to bail out the industrial sector in the wake of the lockdown forced by Covid-19, joining Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat which quickly responded to calls for easing of regulations.

Chief minister BS Yediyurappa is expected to sign off on a set of amendments to a few labour laws and regulations in a day. They will later come before the cabinet for a post-facto approval.

The proposed amendments are expected to make life easier for large, medium, and small industries that are struggling with serious cash flow issues following seven weeks of lockdown.

The government will amend Factories Act, Industrial Disputes Act and Contract Labour Act, among others. The provisions of amended Factories Act will apply to units employing 40 or more persons while the Industrial Disputes Act will apply to units with 300 or more workers, up from 100 or more workers at present. Following the amendment, the cap of employees under the Contract Labour Act will go up to 50 from 20.

One of the amendments will also increase the cap on overtime in factories to 100 hours per quarter from 75 hours.

“We will not do anything that will go against the interests of labourers. These are measures we have proposed for the time being to tide over the challenges thrown at us by Covid-19 pandemic. The government will review them once the crisis is over,” labour and sugar minister Shivaram Hebbar told ET. “Since the new Covid-19 protocol requires industrial units and offices to have only 33% of attendance at a time, we want them to introduce shifts and make up for the loss of productivity.”

As labour falls in the concurrent list of the Constitution, the state will prepare a set of ordinances and send them to the Centre for presidential assent. The government will place regular amendment bills once the legislature session begins.

Several states acted swiftly after the Uttar Pradesh government, in a bold decision, notified an ordinance exempting all establishments, factories, and businesses from the purview of most of its labour laws for three years.

The amendments proposed will go a long way in helping a large number of industrial units, and make Karnataka even more attractive for investments, said Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary, industries.

nvestors have for long been calling for simplification of India’s labour laws as they have to navigate both central and state laws and regulations. India had 45 central labour legislations and about 200 labour laws at the level of states, till the Centre streamlined the central laws into labour codes.

Source : TImes of India