Welcome to the eleventh edition of the e-Bulletin (Volume III) brought to you by the Employment Labour and Benefits (ELB) practice group of Khaitan & Co. This e-Bulletin covers regulatory developments (including those relating to the upcoming labour codes), case law updates and insights into industry practices that impact businesses from a sector agnostic standpoint.
01. LABOUR CODES: STORY SO FAR
In this section, we help you in understanding the developments thus far on the proposed implementation of the 4 labour codes on wages, social security, industrial relations, and occupational safety, health and working conditions, which received the Presidential assent between the years 2019 and 2020.
In the previous edition, we discussed the status of the labour codes and the implementation framework being formulated by state governments through rules thereunder. While the status remains largely the same as on the date of preparation of this bulletin, we do note that the Government of Gujarat released a notification dated 16 November 2021, setting out the draft Code on Social Security (Gujarat) Rules, 2021. The said draft rules, available for public consultation for a period of 45 days, inter alia set out the time and manner of nomination by an employee for the purpose of availing gratuity (in the event of cessation of employment), application for recovery of gratuity, process of filing an appeal against the decision of the Inspector-cum-Facilitator in matters of maternity benefit, time limit for payment of building and other construction workers' welfare cess, maintenance of a register of women employees, and filing of a unified annual return.
02. REGULATORY UPDATES
In this section, we bring to your attention, important regulatory developments in the form of gazette notifications, orders, bills, amendments, etc. issued / circulated in the past one month in the context of employment and labour laws.
Haryana specifies the date for implementation of the local candidates' recruitment law
The Government of Haryana issued 2 notifications, each dated 6 November 2021, in connection with the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act 2020. Through these notifications, the state government has notified (a) 15 January 2022 as the date of implementation of the statute, and (b) INR 30,000 as the monthly gross salary / wages for the purposes of registration. On the latter aspect, it may be noted that the law mandates covered employers (including companies and any person employing 10 or more persons) to register on the government's designated portal, such employees in their establishment who earn gross 'salary or wages' up to the specified threshold (which will be INR 30,000). The timeline provided for this registration process is 3 months from the commencement of the statute (which will be 15 January 2022). Thereafter, as noted in the state government's press release, the new recruitments to posts wherein the monthly gross 'salary or wages' are not more than INR 30,000 would be subject to the requirement of reserving 75% of such posts for persons domiciled in the state of Haryana. Notably, the term 'salary or wages' has not been defined in the statute.
Government of Maharashtra clarifies COVID19 appropriate behaviour at the workplace and vaccination requirement
In its order dated 27 November 2021, the Government of Maharashtra has set out detailed requirements pertaining to COVID19 appropriate behaviour and protocols at the workplace and the aspect of vaccination of employees. As per the said order, for establishments that are not ordinarily visited by the general public, there is no requirement of such premises being restricted in terms of entry only by fully vaccinated persons, although complete vaccination is "strongly advised".
It may be noted that as a general practice, establishments in Maharashtra are adopting a cautious approach and advising their employees to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 virus so as to discharge their obligations under both common law and applicable statutory framework regarding exercise of reasonable care to ensure safety at the workplace.
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