National Level Labour Laws

Note: This article is important for TISSNET.

India, one of the world’s most labor-intensive countries, has ultimately taken a risk and codified 29 national-level labour rules into four codes. Considering that numerous labour regulations are about 70-80 years old and were mostly implemented during the industrial period, this is a daring and innovative move. Since then, the Indian economy has evolved significantly, and it is past time for our labour laws to evolve as well. Earlier in the 2000, attempts to codify our labour rules began, and they have finally come to fruition.

The government notified the Code on Wages, 2019 in 2019.

On September 29, 2020, the last three codes, the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, the Social Security Code, 2020, and the Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code, 2020, were passed. The codes’ enactment date has yet to be announced, so they can go into effect.

Although the codification effort was largely intended to consolidate labour legislation relating to job conditions, social security, pay, occupational health and safety, and working conditions, it also resulted in:

  • Some laws’ scope and applicability are being broadened.
  • Multiple definitions and authorities have been removed.
  • Obsolete laws are being transformed to make it easier to comply with them.
  • Penalties should be simplified, and more emphasis should be placed on enforcing the law.


The Industrial Relations Code, 2020 (IR Code) aims to harmonise and update the legislation governing trade unions, working conditions in industrial establishments and undertakings, and the inquiry and resolution of industrial disputes.

The following three national labour laws are repealed and replaced:

  1. The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
  2. The Trade Unions Act, 1926
  3. The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946

On October 29, 2020, the Industrial Relation (Central) Rules, 2020, were posted for public consultation as a draught central rule to the IR Code.


The Social Security Code of 2020 (SS Code) aims to update and consolidate social security legislation with the purpose of extending social security to all employees and workers, whether in the organised or unorganised sector.

The following nine national labour laws are repealed and replaced:

  1. The Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
  2. The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948
  3. The Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923
  4. The Maternity Benefits Act, 1961
  5. The Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959
  6. The Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981
  7. The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
  8. The Unorganized Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008
  9. The Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996

On November 13, 2020, the draught central regulations to the SS Code, known as the Code on Social Security (Central) Rules, were released publicly for comment.


The Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code, 2020 (OSH Code) aims to bring together and reform the legislation that govern the occupational safety, health, and working conditions of those who work in a business.

It abolishes and replaces the following thirteen national labour laws:

  1. The Factories Act, 1948
  2. The Plantations Labour Act, 1951
  3. The Mines Act, 1952
  4. The Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955
  5. The Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958
  6. The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961
  7. The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment Act) 1966
  8. The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
  9. The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1976
  10. The Inter-state Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981
  11. The Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre-Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981
  12. The Dock-Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986
  13. The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996

On November 19, 2020, the Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions (Central) Rules, 2020, which are proposed rules for the OSH Code, were released for public comment.

Each code require its own set of laws, which will be completed and announced in response to public feedback.

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