Govt proposes allowing cos with not less than 300 workers to fire staff without its nod

New Delhi: Companies having not less than 300 workers will soon be allowed to hire and fire workers without seeking prior government permission, with the labour ministry proposing changes to rules in a bill introduced in Lok Sabha on Saturday.
The proposal, which was the bone of contention between the ministry and trade unions, is part of the Industrial Relation Code Bill 2020.
Currently, only those industrial establishments with less than 100 employees are permitted to hire and fire their staff without permission of the government.
The bill was introduced by Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar amid opposition from Congress and few other parties.
The Industrial Relation Code Bill 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha last year and subsequently sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour. This bill was withdrawn on Saturday.
An earlier draft bill circulated by the labour ministry for discussion had also proposed the criteria that companies having not less than 300 employees can hire and fire without the government’s permission. However, this provision faced stiff opposition from trade unions and was not included in the 2019 bill.
Earlier this year, the Parliamentary committee also made a case of allowing companies having less than 300 workers to go for retrenchment of staff or closure without government permission.
States like Rajasthan have already increased the threshold to 300 workers, which according to the labour ministry has resulted in an increase in employment and a decrease in retrenchment, the committee had pointed out in its report.
With regard to the threshold, the government has proposed Section 77(1) in the The Industrial Relation Code 2020.
According to the Section, the provisions of “this Chapter (lay-off, retrenchment and closure in certain establishment) shall apply to an industrial establishment (not being an establishment of a seasonal character or in which work is performed only intermittently) in which not less than three hundred workers, or such higher number of workers as may be notified by the appropriate Government, were employed on an average per working day in the preceding twelve months”.

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