Laws, policies and ordinances are something that are constantly on the move. They change sometimes as fast as lightning and sometimes as slow as a snail. And hence, there have been many changes in recent years.
Nevertheless, as an HR it is really important for you to know these employment law changes like ABC. Even the minutest of error can cost your organisation a huge penalty. Stop panicking! This was just to make you alert; you don’t need to waste your time searching and cramming them. Here is a brief track of all the major changes in the recent years. Take a look.
Fixed term employees enjoy benefits just like permanent ones –
After the amendment hours of work, wages, insurance, gratuity, PF, termination provisions etc should not be less than permanent employees. No existing employees can be converted to fixed-term employees and the change is applicable across all sectors.
No tolerance for cast based discrimination-
Under the SCST Atrocities act, the candidate or employee can object from answering questions related to his or her background, family and other personal life details. Moreover, if he feels he is being discriminated because of his caste in any way, he can lodge an FIR. The police will not even need to inquire before arresting the person.
Garden leaves enforceable till notice period-
Garden leaves are paid days after resignation. The employee doesn’t work or come to the office but is still a part of the organisation. This is done to prevent the leakage of sensitive information. Some companies tend to extend this period but according to Indian law, such leaves are not enforceable after the notice period is over.
Maternity leaves increased and creche facility guidelines rolled out-
The maternity leaves have now been extended from 12 to 26 weeks. Moreover, the mine establishments, factories, circuses, plantations, with 50 employees or more, now need to have a creche. It should not be more than 500 m away from the workplace. The same should be open all time with necessary medical arrangements and a trained woman to look after the kids.
Employee severance limit doubled-
The employee severance limit has been doubled from 1M to 2M. If the maternity leaves are not more than 26 weeks, the gratuity will be calculated in continuation.
Addition to sexual harassment laws-
According to POSH Act, 2013, it was required for organisations to form an internal complaints committee. It was also necessary to have at least 4 members in the committee out of which the president had to be a woman. However, this year the government has also introduced an online platform SHe-Box. It helps employees to complain about workplace sexual harassment.
Overtime wages and penalty increased-
To promote the idea of going cashless, the Minimum wages act, 1948 has been amended. Wages are now to be paid online and not in cash. However, there are two exceptional situations in which the payment can be done in cash. If the worker is hired on a daily wage basis or if there has been any sort of special circumstance like fire, calamity or death of the employer etc.
The overtime now has to be double of the pay. Non-compliance may lead to a penalty of up to Rs. 50,000 or imprisonment of 3 years. Earlier the penalty was only 6 months and Rs. 500.
Back Wages cannot be claimed even after reinstatement-
Earlier there was no clarity on whether the employee can claim back wages after the dismissal order or not. But this year it was made clear that the back wages cannot be claimed even if after the order of dismissal the services have been reinstated.
Scope and meaning of the Right of specially-abled persons widened-
The Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, came into effect on June 15 of 2017. Applicable to all the private establishments, it disallowed discrimination with respect to recruitment, promotion and employment due to their personal disability. The employers now also need to publish a policy related to equal opportunity. Also, now the act includes 27 types of disabilities, earlier it used to include 7.
Probable changes in 2019-
Reduction of Gratuity years– The government is planning to reduce the time limit of Gratuity payment from 5 years to 3 years. The private sector employees will surely get a huge relief with its implementation.
Making workplaces more inclusive for LGBT community– Even though the section 377 IPC has decriminalised homosexuality in India, the inclusivity, in reality, is still missing. So, initiatives from the government for gender positive laws on hiring practices, social security benefits, boardroom representation and promotion alongwith deterrence od sexual harassment is expected.
Clarity in termination of employment in software development companies-
The HR of software companies often get confused with their classification. Whether the companies should follow the labour laws that are made for factories based on manufacturing activities or not may also get clarified.
Let us know in the comments if this post was helpful. Also, keep coming back to us for quick updates on all the changes that may impact your organisation.