1. Has the Industrial Relations Code, 2020 (IR Code) become a law yet?
No, the IR Code is not law yet. While it has been passed by both houses of the Parliament and has also received the President's assent on September 28, 2020, it will however come into force only on a date notified by the Central Government.
2. What are the various legislations that have been repealed by the IR Code?
The following Central legislations will be repealed once the IR Code is effective:
- The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947;
- Trade Union Act, 1926; and
- The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
3. Has the IR Code introduced new definitions or made alterations to previously defined terms?
Yes, for instance some of the critical ones are as follows:
- The scope of 'worker' has been widened to include persons employed in a supervisory category earning wages up to INR 18,000.
- The IR Code widened the scope of an 'industrial dispute'.
- The definition of the term 'strike' has been expanded to also include casual leave taken by 50% or more workers employed in the establishment on the same day/days.
4. Is the IR Code applicable to any additional industrial establishments?
No, but the applicability of the Code depends on a few factors including number of workers and the nature and type of the industrial establishment.
5. Have the retrenchment provisions been amended?
No, the conditions precedent to retrenchment of a worker remain unchanged. However, the thresholds for taking prior approvals have been increased. The Code also contemplates institution of a worker re-skilling fund that comprises contributions made by the employer and would be utilised for every retrenched worker.
6. Are there new regulations related to disciplinary proceedings?
Yes, the IR Code has explicitly laid down the requirement that within 90 days of suspension of a worker, the employer must complete the disciplinary proceedings.
7. Have the rules regarding a 'strike' changed?
Yes, the IR Code requires persons employed in all industrial establishments to give their employer a 14-day notice of strike before striking.
8. Can an employer change service conditions of workers under the IR Code?
Yes, under the IR Code, an employer can change the service conditions of workers by giving 21 days of notice, subject to certain exceptions.
9. Does the IR Code recognise a 'sole negotiating union'?
Yes, the IR Code provides for recognition of a 'sole negotiating union' which would negotiate with the employer in an industrial establishment in cases where there are more than one registered trade union.
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