Cabinet moves to reform labour laws

The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to three archaic labour laws aimed at easing regulations which have acted as an obstacle to faster growth and hurt employee interests. Sources said the Cabinet had approved amendments to the Factories 1948, the Apprenticeship Act 1961, Labour Laws ( Exemption from furnishing returns and maintaining of registers by certain establishments 1988), a bold reform move expected to help attract investments and improve the ease of doing business in the country . The amendments to the Factories Act 1948 is expected to provide women on night duty adequate safety and provision for transport after work. It will also help several sectors such as textiles and garments.The amendments aim to raise the overtime hours from the current ceiling of 50 hours per quarter to 100 hours per quarter. The amendment also proposes this limit to be increased to a maximum of 125 hours per quarter in public interest with the approval of state government.
The amendments also seeks to ensure safer work environment for employees in hazardous environment as well as provision of canteen facilities in respect of factories employing 200 or more workers instead of the present stipulation of 250 workers. It also provides for shelters or restrooms and lunchrooms in factories employing 75 or more workers instead of the present stipulation of 150 workers.
The amendments to the Apprenticeship Act 1961 is expected to help in skill development and training. The move is aimed at providing flexibility to firms on hiring apprentices and removing restrictive clauses for employers.

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