The Social Security Measures and their relevance in Labour Legislations

The Social Security Measures and their relevance in Labour Legislations

Author: Pooja Heda, KES Jayantilal H Patel Law College


Ancient Indian Literature ‘Manusmrithi’ mentioned about codes for the protection and safety of the people. The concept of Social Security was associated with the Hindu Joint Families which was the ‘Original Cell of Security’ and ‘First Line of Defence’ against any misfortune. Then in Vedic period ‘Guilds’ a group of merchants or artisans worked during calamities for the security of life and property. Organized Social Security Measures in statutory form are of recent origins a key factor in Industrial system to protect employees and their dependents against contingencies like disability, sickness, employment injury and unemployment. The Industrial Programmes based on the ideals of human dignity and social justice will relieve the anxiety of the poor labours through financial benefit and medical care. Social Security as a National Programme aims to reduce Social sufferings due to Poverty, Unemployment and Intensity of Diseases. The Schemes for Provident Fund, Medical Insurance, Maternity Benefit, Compensation and Gratuity are useful in India. The efficiency, extent of coverage, finding suitable policy and approaches to strengthen the delivery system according to priorities through planned justice for inclusive growth is the need of the day. This paper describes about the implications of various social security benefits provided to the labours in India.

According to Sir Beverage “Social Security means an attack on want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. The term “Social Security” was first officially used in the title of the United States Legislation in The Social Security Act of 1935. According to Madhava Rao P (2002) Social Securitycomprises the economic security provided by the society generally or by the family, communities, organizations and other social groups, for the social well-being of a privatefor his journey from the birth to death. Social Security varies from country to country. In Great Britain it covers National Insurance, Industrial Insurance, Family allowance, National assistance and National Health Service. In India, it is considered to be a mechanism to redistribute a portion of profit to protect employees and his family from uncertain risks.

The organization assists the workforce against certain contingent risks, which cannot be effectively faced by small earners by their own ability. The scheme under Social Security Measures includes health services for sickness, Fringe Benefits to increase the morale of the employees, Pension facility for the Post Retirement Life, Economical Support to face the Widowhood and Compensation for Industrial Accidents, Occupational Diseases and Unemployment thanks to Retrenchment and Layoff. Generally, the State Policy for Social Securityfollow philosophy of Compensation to render security, Restoration by re-employment after curing sickness and Preventing the diseases through available resources which reduce the productive capacity.

According to Sharma A.M. (1984) International Labour Organisation insisted to develop Social Insurance Scheme by the countries based upon compulsory premium to render Pension and Sick Benefits. India along with Social Security Legislations adopted Schemes like, Integrated Rural Development Programmes, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, and Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana etc. to ensure social security to the poor.

Objectives of Social Security

Social Security Schemes includes both Social Assistance and Social Insurance. The government provides these protections through its institutions against certain risks through the collective contributions of employees, employers and therefore thestate. The Surplus fund over current benefits are going to beinvested further by the govtto earn income emphasizing upon contingency oriented approach for future need. The benefit one receives will be proportional to the contribution he has rendered to the scheme. The core purpose behind providing Social Security Measures to workforce is to create sound industrial relations, creation of qualitative work environment, meeting legislative requirements, safeguarding against the risk of accidents, protecting health and securing against social risks like adulthood, maternity, unemployment etc.

It meets the needof retirement, loss of support by the death of the bread winner and exceptional expenditure associated with birth, marriage and death. Actually, within thebeginning it had been restricted only to children’s allowance, comprehensive health services, rehabilitation and avoiding mass unemployment. It covers mainly nine components like Medical care, Unemployment Benefits, Old Age Benefits, Employment Injury Benefits, Family Benefits, Maternity Benefits, Invalidity Benefits and Survivor Benefits.

Importance of Social Security

Social security is becoming a distinct part of social policy in all countries and time has come to give serious consideration to meet the ever-increasing social security needs of the population. We can experience diversified views about the extension of social security coverage, some say it should be only for the labours and others says that the entire population should be covered. According to Saxena R.C (1974) Social Security is concept conceded in all advanced countries of the world as an indispensable chapter of the national programme to strike poverty, unemployment and disease. Naidu (2003) The success of Social Security schemes however requires the active support and involvement of employees and employers. The Social Security works to scale back human deprivation to eliminate vulnerability during a developing country.

According to ILO Social Security means “the result achieved by a comprehensive and successful series of measures for shielding the general public from the economic distress within the absence of such service, would be caused by the stoppage of earnings in sickness, unemployment, old age and death for medical care and subsidizing families to bring up young children. The social security adopted by the International Labor Conference on 28th June, 1952 under convention (No. 102) for the medical aid , protection of skin, employment, old age, employment injury, family protection, maternity and survivor benefits by comparing Social Security of industrially advanced countries of the Asia and Africa. Varadani G (1989) Restriction of study to a socio financial condition to supply Social Security benefits to the economic workers at the subsistence level.

Social security as “protection given by society to its members through series of public measures from economic and social distress that otherwise would be caused by stoppage of or substantial reduction of earnings from sickness, maternity, employment, injury, unemployment, invalidity, old age and death. ILO Geneva, (1984) It also includes provisions for medical aid and therefore the provision of subsidies for families with children. According to Dr. Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze “The basic idea of Social Security is to use Social means to prevent deprivation and vulnerability” Sen and Dreze (1991).Robin Burgers and Nicholas Stern (1993) Vulnerability may be a chronic stage arising from the absence of any asset or resource which will ensure adequate livelihood. Social security may be viewed as a means for this.

Guhan (1994) The scope of the term social security was expanded to include not only contingency related measures but also several programmes aimed at improving endowments, exchange entitlements, real incomes and social consumption. The emphasize on measures to tackle persistent poverty through enhanced income levels was important.


Social Security has been universally accepted as the responsibility of the state to protect employee and his dependents against certain hazards when they are unable to earn and restore themselves.  However, the application of social security to the developing countries in South Asia is a challenging task due to the existence of large informal sectors, incomplete structural transformation and high level of poverty. According to Dreze and Sen (1989) Social security in developing countries needed to be viewed from a broader perspective as an objective to  be pursued through public means rather  than depending  upon a definite set of strategies  as it is influenced  by  external  factors  like  changing  economic  and  political  pressure,  rapid  inflation,  high unemployment, changing employment patterns and budgetary pressure etc.

Joseph Bonder (1983) examined the Direct Deposit Programme through the electronic fund transfer system to state that since 1975 monthly benefit is paid directly to the bank account of the beneficiaries. The Statutory Schemes in India has limited coverage by keeping away the small industrial workers, unorganized and agricultural labours from the modern forms of social protection which is undesirable.  Modern  Social  Security  Programmes  may  be  regarded  as  the  device  to distribute income as  per the  need to  divert part  of the fruits  of current  production for  the benefit  of injured workers,  secure  minimum  pensions  for  lowly  paid  employees,  partly  at  the  expense  of  their  better  paid colleagues, spread the social cost of widowhood by appropriate tax measures and the industrial sector to directly assist the development of basic health services for the people at large.

The efficiency of the state in providing the  benefits as  per  the expectations  of the  beneficiaries  by extending  the coverage  need to  be  focused. The coverage  of  Employees State  Insurance  Scheme  should  be  extended  to  agricultural  workers  and  self-employment. The corporation should focus to establish more dispensaries and hospitals with improved medical facilities. Steps should be taken to include Old age benefits. According to William Ambaka (2011) financial viability for sustained generation of sufficient funds to provide pension benefits and other social security to the retirees is the principal challenge in most countries which created severe pressure and uncertainty for future. 

Comprehensive  social  security  policy  should  link  and  co-ordinate  different  schemes  to  achieve  inter complementary goals of different schemes.  Social security schemes will contribute towards social protection if carefully designed to meet the local needs, adequately supported with resources, and integrating with the National Policy which is committed to providing social protection to the excluded majority.




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