LABOUR LAW In Covid-19 Times

LABOUR LAW In Covid-19 Times

Author:  Ansh Kumar, Gujarat National Law University.


In recent times we have seen that centre government and many state government have passed the ordinance to suspend labour laws so that the economic activities are back on track and the economy can recover from the recession that is going in the country at the present and Covid-19 has only worsen the situation for the labours and the working class. In India there is no single act or code that are governing the laws of labour. Some of the major laws that are governing the labour laws are the Trade Unions Act, 1926 Minimum Wages Act, 1948 Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and many more so let us take a look at history of labour law in India Weather or not the  labour law in India are that of the International standard and how The current situation of  Covid-19 will effect the laws in India

History Of The Labour laws In India

Before any Law regarding the regulation of labour came into force the labour had to work for 13 to 14 hours a day without getting enough pay and rest they never got a day off for taking brought by the britan government to be implemented and to protect the Labrour in India was the Factory Act in 1883 which was later passed by the Indian Parliament after Independence it was called The Factories Act 1948[1]This was the first time that the working hours of the workers in factories was limited to 8 hours it also abolished the child labour which was earlier legal it also banned  the women to work in night shift these were implemented in the textile industries this act also allowed people to get extra wages if  people work overtime. After this many laws relate to labourlaw like the wages act the trade union act etc.

Indian Labour law and International Labour law

The international standars for the labour law is regulated by International labour organization for which India is the founding member but the question comes up weather the laws in India are up to standard as if there is cheap labour in one part of world  then it imapact the economy of may developed countries as the cheap labour are being provided in developing countries and the many big giants shift there production base out od developed countries so as to reduce there production cost and increase there profit. The diffrence comes as ILOSpecifis that the minimum age for children to work is 15 while in India the cosntitution article 24 states that no children below the age of 14 should be employed in any place of work also if compared to Britan  The Trade Union Act of1926[2]It permits people to form a trade union with minimum 7 members in it and it has to be registered while in UK minimum of 21 workers to be as members of a trade union to be recognized by the employer eligible for collective bargaining, though the Act does not explicitly state the minimum number of workmen to form a trade union The trade unions help the labour to get there voice heard by there employers further moving to the wages when we compare the with china and Vietnam china has laws that provide the minimum wages according to different province and Vietnam provides US $ 11.21, whereas in India the minimum wage in India is US $ 2.38. if we see that China’s model is much better than India or Vietnam as it follows a system of province so that everyone is able to afford the basic necessity according to need of the province and price level there. In different province there are different level of need like in a rural area you can survive with less amount of money as compared to the urban city in India the minimum wage is so low that many people who come to the urban city to search for work they are unable to cope up with the fast moving structure of city and have to return back to the rural area and find work there. India as compared to the world it is still far behind in recognising the right of labourer and after the recent  pandemic India has moved many years  back let us see the impact of covid 19 on Indian labour law


If we see that in recent time states like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh , Haryana have been suspending the labour laws to bring back the economic activities but it is harmful for the labour as the suspension of labour law means that the labour has to work for 13 hours to 14 hours a day without receiving the overtime that they were entitled to before but now they will not receive any bonus nor they will receive any pensions and social security benefits that were guaranteed under social security act. These things will effectthe labour as in India the inflation as of march 2020 was 5.8% and suspending labour law when the inflation is so high it will cause distress to the labour only as they wont be able to afford the daily necessity as they won’t have the money and the overwork will effect there mental health causing Sharpe rise in the suicide rate as people wont be able to afford the basic necessity that they require also if we see that now the labour law has been suspended the employers can  easily manipulate the labour and easily remove the people from there work if they deny to do a certain work. But suspending labour laws for a certain period of time will benefit the economy which is currently at stand still after the recent pandemic ends  for recovery of the economy the labour and the employer have to work  on an equal term rather than being on an unequal term


In recent times we have seen how India in India the people have rights but they are not up to the  International standard as the minimum wages in India is low as $2.60  per day which is around rupees 160 per day it is not enough for people to sustain themselves also we have that after suspension of labour laws how the burden will be put up on labour and how it will cause stress and effect the mental health of people

[1]the Factories Act, 1948,No 63, Act of Parliament,1948 (India)                                                                                               

[2]The Trade Union Act, No 16, Act Of Parliament, 1926( India)


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