The Employee's Compensation Act, 1923

It is also known as the Workmen Compensation Act. This Act has specified the meaning of the employee under Section 2(dd) of the Act which includes railway servant, captain and crew of aircraft driver, the mechanic of motor vehicle etc. This act focuses on compensating employees if suffered injuries from an accident during the course of employment. There is an imposition of a legal obligation on employers to compensate an employee who is involved in accidents during the course of employment during official duty and not personal suffrage. The employee needs to show that it was during the work and the resulting strain which contributed to or aggravated the injury. Once the employee informs about the same the responsibility turns towards the employee as bring in the medical officer for a check-up and if the employee is recommended to doctor or any other such expenses is taken care by the employer or his industry. It is not paid directly by the employer but through Commissioner of Workmen Compensation.

Industrial Disputes Act, 1947

This act states about the “protected workmen” person who fight for the right not only for himself but also for his fellow workers. They have been defined under Section 33(3)[1] as “in relation to an establishment, means a workman who, being a member of the executive or another office-bearer of a registered trade union connected with the establishment, is recognized as such in accordance with rules made in this behalf.” To protect such workmen who take one for the team, the Industrial Dispute Act has included Section 33 which protects such workmen and provides them with immunity. Basically, the company or the organisation will not take any action against such work until and unless a court order for the same. It is not an absolute immunity. The court focuses on the speedy trials as well as in a peaceful manner. The trade union presume that once the privilege is vested in the protected workmen it will remain for lifetime but it cannot be said as true since every new situation has a new solution and it will be wrong to presume that once the organisation or establishment is wrong, it will continue to be wrong for every problem.

Hence, it is considered as good law since the workmen is not suffered for raising his voice for the right.

Minimum Wages Act, 1948

India deals with poverty every day. It is a land of cheap labours from the time of colonial rule since people are not aware of their rights and potential. Illiteracy is the main cause. This act comes to the rescue where the government fix the minimum wages for the employees so that they are not been harassed by their employers and they can lead a life where their basic necessities are fulfilled. The Act defines both employee and wages as-

Employee has been defined under Section 2(i) as any person who is employed for hire or rewards to do any work, skilled or unskilled, manual or clerical, in a scheduled employment in respect of which minimum rates of wages have been fixed; and includes out-workers.

Wages is defined as wages” means all remuneration, capable of being expressed in terms of money, which would, if the terms of the contract of employment, express or implied, were fulfilled, be payable to a person employed in respect of his employment or of work done in such employment, under Section 2(h). And there are several things which are not included such as- the value of the house, gratuity, travelling allowances etc. The Act also ensures that there should not be any delay in the payment of wages. There is also provided with respect to a deduction from the salary and that only authorised deduction is allowed and should not exceed 50%.

Factories Act, 1948

This Act is for the safety, health and welfare of the workers who work in the factory. It takes care of everything from the working hours to leaves, overtime, health check-up, employment etc. The term factory is defined under Section 2(m) of the Act. The must be a manufacturing process going on or any such kind, which has also been defined under the act. It is applicable to a person who employs more than 10 persons who are working with aid or 20 persons without the aid. The act also makes sure that the factory is clean and there is no infection or nuisance, there must be proper ventilation. There must be drinking water which must be clean; also the washroom must be clean and hygienic. Proper safety measure must be present as sometimes factory place could be dangerous, the first-aid box should be present and during orientation how to use it during an emergency must be taught. If certain machine requires fencing it must be done carefully.

Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952[2]

This Act was enacted to secure the future of the employee after he/she retires or if there is the sudden death of the employee the family member can get support. It is compulsory in nature. It is applied to every industry where more than 10 people are employed.  Maximum of 12% is deducted from the basic salary; the employee can increase the percentage according to one’s need that would be a personal choice. The best part is that employee can withdraw or take an advance in case of an emergency such as housing, medical care, housing etc. Interest rate provided is generally higher than the market value. There is also exemption provided that the employer shows that there is better scheme than the usual Provident Fund.

There shall be a central and the state board that is allotted with duties and function under the act.

Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

Every pregnant woman has a right to claim maternity leave, if not given employer will be liable. This act was brought into existence because if women get pregnant they had to leave the job. To overcome this government brought this Act. The other flaw that the act faces is that employer tries to avoid taking women since they have a vacant seat where he cannot appoint any person and also they have to pay for it too. But with time things are changing and in a certain private company, the maternity benefit is given than what is prescribed by the government. The aim of the act is to give women economic independence even when they are pregnant and could not make it to the office. There is the famous case with respect to the same Air India v. Nargesh Meerza[3] in this the woman was a flight attendant and was removed from her job because she was pregnant. The company laid down that if women if 35 years and above, first time pregnant or married with the first four years of service will be terminated from the job. The Supreme Court stated that these conditions are an infringement of Article 15 and16 of Indian Constitution and therefore is void. Also, these rules were not applied to men but only women. The leave period has increased from 12 weeks to 24 weeks.

Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972

This act deals in payment of gratuity to an employee who deals in factories, mines, oilfields, railway companies, shops etc. which may be incidental in nature. It may continue even if the number of an employee falls below 10 in number. The gratuity will be provided to employees who have completed the service for at least 5 years except in case of death and disablement. Gratuity means a benefit given at the time of retirement to its workmen after serving the employer for a long duration of time and bringing in the prosperity the industry needs. There is provision for nomination as the paperwork is cut down and the procedure becomes simplified if the employee becomes disabled or if there is sudden death. The government can exempt the current program with a better provision. There is also provision for recovery of gratuity in case the employer fails to pay the same. This brings in the security among the employees as there is a guarantee for the same.

Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976

The object of this Act is same as the name suggest to abolish the whole system of bonded labour in order to prevent the exploitation it can be economic or physical or mental of the weaker and poor section of people with respect to their occupation.

The idea of bonded labour starts again from the fact of illiteracy and that the labours parent or grandparents took some loan which they were unable to pay and which was charged at a very high interest rate, now are forced to work throughout their life at a very minimal wage or no wage as to repayment of the same.

It is the outcome of customary obligations, forced labour, beggar or indebtedness under which a debtor agrees to render service. It is also known as vetti, hari, sanjwat etc. The employee or rather the aggrieved person can go to District Magistrate with his complain or any other person on his behalf, The District Magistrate is the chairman of the Vigilance Committee which is formed under the Act. There are several rules and duties attached to them under the provision. It is not compulsory to go to the District Magistrate but any other member who is part of Vigilance Committee. To have a bonded labour is an offence and is punishable under the act with the imprisonment which may extend to three years and also a fine of rupees two thousand.

Equal Remuneration Act, 1976

As the name suggests Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 provides for equal payment to both men and women on the same position. It makes sure that there is no differentiation based on sex or gender of the person. It is also applied in the matters of recruitment as well.

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan[4] was the first time when the Supreme court laid down the guidelines which focused towards the prevention of sexual harassment at workplace. These guidelines were applied to both organised and unorganised sector of employment and to provide a safe environment at the workplace for the women. Workplace is not confined to the office, it could be school, college whether full time working or part-time rules are the same and these guidelines are legally binding upon them. They should not feel a disadvantage at any stage. There are different types of sexual harassment-

  1. Demand and request  for sexual favour
  2. Threat about employment status
  3. Promise for preferential treatment
  4. Showing pornography
  5. Humiliating treatment that affects health etc.

There is also an Internal Complaint Committee which has a minimum of four members and the presiding officer must be a woman and one member from the NGO who is into the cause. There is also provision for Local Complaints Committee where one woman from SC or ST or OBC must be present. Each member can hold the office from 3 years only. There is the whole procedure to look into the case and if not satisfied with the judgement it is appealable. And if there is no proof no action will be taken. The employer needs to organise workshop regarding the same and make sure that the employee understand the consequence of the same.

[1] INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES ACT, 1947,  (Central)   -Current as on 22 July 2018


[3] (1981) 4 SCC 335

[4] (1997) 6 SCC 241

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