The Government of Tamil Nadu introduces draft amendments to the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Rules, 1948
The Government of Tamil Nadu, via a notification dated October 9, 2023, introduced draft amendments to the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Rules, 1948 ("Rules"). The draft amendments are still under consideration and the Government has invited public comments on them till December 9, 2023. The key amendments are as follows:
- New establishments incorporated after the commencement of the Tamil Nadu Shops & Establishments (Amendment) Act, 2018 ("Amendment Act") are required to be registered as per the prescribed process. The employers of the establishments existing before the commencement of the Amendment Act are required to furnish the details of their establishments to the concerned area Inspector through the designated web portal. Currently, there are no registration requirements under the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947.
- . Establishments should make adequate arrangements for the provision of first aid.
- The upper limit for penalty for any contravention of the Rules has been increased from INR 50 to INR 2000.
EPFO releases SOP for management and regulation of exempted establishments
On October 6, 2023, the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation ("EPFO") issued the Standard Operating Procedure ("SOP") for the management and regulation of the establishments exempted from the purview of the Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 ("EPF Act"). Broadly, the SOP provides the following:
- Responsibilities of the exempted establishments including constitution of a Board of Trustees for the administration of their provident fund in the prescribed manner, submission of undertakings as required by law, regular submission of online returns to the EPFO, provision of a grievance redressal machinery and publication of their and their trust fund's annual report on their website among others.
- Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees in exempted establishments including receiving the members' monthly remittances, maintenance of detailed accounts of the members and informing the respective regional offices about change in the legal status of the exempted establishment, if any, among others.
- Responsibilities of regional, zonal and head offices under the EPFO including monitoring of online returns filed by the exempted establishments and compliance audits and conducting outreach programmes among others.
- Mechanism, timelines and prescribed forms for undertaking the respective responsibilities and compliances mentioned in the SOP.
- 3-level monitoring mechanism consisting of the regional office, zonal office and head office.
- A priority matrix classifying the exempted establishments into 3 categories for taking appropriate action against them based on the nature of violation of exemption conditions.
Factories in Punjab are no longer required to comply with the working hours and weekly holidays prescribed under the Factories Act, 1948
On September 20, 2023, the Government of Punjab exempted all factories in Punjab from complying with certain provisions of the Factories Act, 1948 pertaining to the working hours and weekly holidays with respect to adult workers, subject to the following terms and conditions:
- The daily working hours of the workers should not exceed 12 hours and daily spread-over, including rest interval, should not exceed 13 hours.
- The weekly working hours of the workers including overtime hours should not exceed 60 hours and the overtime working hours of the workers should not exceed 115 hours in a quarter.
- No worker should be required to work for more than 7 days at a stretch. A proper logbook must be maintained for recording overtime working hours.
- . Employers shall comply with the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and the corresponding rules.
If any employer violates the above-mentioned conditions or any provisions of the Factories Act, 1948, the exemptions provided to the factory shall be withdrawn.
The Rajasthan Government notifies the Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Act, 2023
The Rajasthan Platform Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Act, 2023 ("Gig Workers Act") received the State Governor's assent on September 12, 2023. The Gig Workers Act will come into force on the date to be notified by the State Government. Once notified, Rajasthan would become the first state in India to implement a comprehensive law to regulate the engagement of platform-based gig workers.
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship issues guidelines for the implementation of NAPS-2
On August 25, 2023, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship issued guidelines for the implementation of the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme-2 ("NAPS-2"). The new guidelines shall come into effect from August 25, 2023, and supersede all previous guidelines issued under the previous version of the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme. The new guidelines broadly provide the following:
- Apprentices, establishments, third party aggregators and apprenticeship advisers can submit their grievances or queries through the query redressal tool linked to the apprenticeship portal or a dedicated call centre through the NAPS-2 helpline. In case the grievance is not resolved within the stipulated time period, it will be escalated to the authorities at the State and Central level.
- Government of India's partial stipend support i.e., 25 percent of the amount of stipend paid to the apprentices by the employers upto a maximum of INR 1500 per apprentice per month shall now be transferred to the apprentices' bank accounts through Direct Benefit Transfer facility
- Earlier, cost of basic training upto a maximum of INR 7500 per apprentice was shared by the Government of India. However, no such reimbursement shall be provided to basic training providers now.
- The upper age limit for apprentices has been set to 35 years at the time of registration on the portal for the establishments requiring partial stipend support from the Government of India.
The Government of Rajasthan declares industrial units located in the Japanese International Investment Zone as 'Public Utility Service'
The Government of Rajasthan, via a notification dated August 22, 2023, has declared the industrial units located in the 'Japanese International Investment Zone' in Rajasthan as public utility service under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 ("IDA") for a period of 6 months starting from August 25, 2023. Under the IDA, there are certain additional compliances that are applicable to the establishments declared as public utility service.
EPFO issues SOP for processing joint declarations for updating member profiles
The EPFO via a circular dated August 22, 2023, issued the SOP for processing joint declarations ("JD") for updating the profiles of EPFO members. The SOP has been issued in light of the irregularities arising in the member profiles owing to a lack of regulated and standardised process for their maintenance on an automated system. As a result, the members had to go through a tedious process for rectifying their details. In order to address these concerns, the new SOP provides for the following:
- Procedure and timeline for filing of JD applications by the members and approval of JD by the employer and the competent authority.
- 3-level monitoring mechanism i.e., at the regional office, zonal office and head office level for monitoring the processing of JD applications.
- Prescribed documents for requesting any changes or additions through a JD.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment declares multiple industries as 'Public Utility Service'
The Ministry of Labour and Employment, via multiple notifications, has declared the following industries as public utility service under the IDA:
- Iron ore mining industry for a period of 6 months starting from October 14, 2023.
- Mineral oil (crude oil), motor and aviation spirit, diesel oil, kerosene oil, fuel oil, diverse hydrocarbon oils and their blends including synthetic fuels, lubricating oils and the like manufacturing or production industry for a period of 6 months starting from August 28, 2023.
- Iron and steel industry for a period of 6 months starting from August 17, 2023.
- Alumina and aluminium manufacturing and bauxite mining industry for a period of 6 months starting from August 4, 2023.
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