Labour Ministry issues draft for Standing Orders for manufacturing, mining, services sectors

The Labour Ministry has issued drafts for the Model Standing Orders under proposed Labour Code.

The Standing Orders refer to the rules of conduct for workmen employed in industrial establishments.

This is the first time, the draft orders have been prepared for the services sector considering the increasing importance of Work from Home. At the same time, there are also draft orders for manufacturing and mining sectors. Stakeholders can give their suggestions within 30 days from now, after which the final version will be prepared.

“Uniformity has been maintained in all the three Model Standing Orders while providing some flexibility considering the sector-specific requirements,” a statement by Labour Ministry said.

These orders will cover all industrial establishments, employing 300 workers or more, and which are covered under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.

Draft for services sector

Under these orders, the concept of ‘Work from Home’ has been formalised. “Subject to conditions of appointment or agreement between employer and workers, employer may allow a worker to work from home for such period or periods as may be determined by employer,” one of order mentioned.

Workers have been categorised into six – Permanent, Temporary, Apprentices, Probationers, Badlis (appointed temporarily in place of absent permanent worker) and Fixed Term Employment. Orders have defined 23 categories of acts under misconduct for which disciplinary action can be taken against a worker. These include sleeping on duty, claiming false bill for reimbursement, involvement in unauthorized access of any IT system, computer network of the employer/ customer/client, habitual late attendance and habitual absence without leave or without sufficient cause and leaving work without permission or sufficient reason beside others.

It has been said that a worker may be suspended by the employer pending investigation or enquiry into complaints or charges of misconduct against him. “Such investigation or enquiry, or where there is an investigation followed by enquiry, both the investigation and enquiry shall be ordinarily completed within ninety days from the date of suspension,” one of the orders said.

The worker will be paid subsistence allowance during the period of suspension which will be subject to the worker not taking any employment elsewhere during the period of suspension. The amount of subsistence allowance payable to such worker will be 50 per cent of the wages that the worker was entitled to immediately preceding the date of such suspension, for the first 90 days of suspension; and at the 75 per cent of such wages for the remaining period of suspension.

The Model Standing Orders for Services Sector inter alia provides that in case of IT Sector, the working hour shall be as per agreement or conditions of appointment between employer and workers

Draft for manufacturing/mining Sector

Draft Model Standing Orders for manufacturing and mining sector exclude unauthorised access of IT system from definition of misconducts. Like the draft orders for the services sector, here too, ‘Habitual’ means with respect to indiscipline, a worker shall be habitual if the worker found guilty of any misconduct three or more times in preceding twelve months.

It has also been proposed to extend the Rail Travel Facility to the workers in the mining sector. Presently, it is being availed by the workers in coal mines only. Every worker who has completed a period of twelve months’ continuous service, would qualify for railway fare or bus fare or both for going home on leave and returning to the mine on the expiry of the leave.

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