New Delhi: In a major reform push to boost manufacturing and create jobs in the labour-intensive sectors, the Union cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to three key labour laws: the Factories Act, 1948, the Apprentices Act, 1961, and the Labour Laws (exemption from furnishing returns and maintaining registers by certain establishments) Act, 1988. The central government will soon table the Bills in Parliament.

Following are the some of the key points of proposed amendments:

Factories Act

• 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

Apprentices Act

* 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

Labour Laws (exemption from furnishing returns and maintaining registers by certain establishments) Act

* 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.

Close