States May Be Nudged To Modify Laws In Line With labor Codes

NEW DELHI: After pushing the four labour codes through parliament, the Centre is set to identify state labour laws that are in conflict with them. The objective is to ensure that the reforms brought about by the codes are not undone by local laws and accordingly, states will be asked to modify or do away with them.

The government is of the view that state laws such as the Mathadi law of Maharashtra, which provides benefits for a person who carries a load of material on his head or back, may not remain valid or would require fresh Presidential assent with the labour codes coming into force. “We want to see if there is any conflict between state laws and the codes and how the divergence can be removed,” a top government official told ET. The Centre proposes to review all state labour laws, keeping in mind the codes.

According to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity many state laws may be at divergence with the central Codes. “Until and unless these are in line with the new Codes, the labour reforms undertaken by the Centre will not have the desired impact,” the official said.

States may have to be nudged into addressing these issues as they may not carry out the exercise due to political compulsions, the official said. “The exercise of aligning state labour laws with those of the Centre is long overdue… it will ensure effective implementation of labour reforms at the ground level,” a labour expert said, adding, however, that this would draw a lot of resistance from the states.

The labour ministry consolidated 29 central labour laws into four labour codes on wages; social security; industrial relations, and occupational safety, health and working conditions. The government has notified draft rules for the four codes and hopes to finalise them by early January for an April 1 rollout.

Labour is on the concurrent list and both the Centre and the states can legislate on these matters. This has resulted in multiple Central and state laws related to wages, employment, social security and industrial relations in the garb of safeguarding the interests of employers and employees.

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