Indian labour laws divide industry into two broad categories:
Factories are regulated by the provisions of the Factories Act, 1948 (the saidAct). All industrial establishments employing 10 or more persons and carrying manufacturing activities with the aid of power come within the definition of Factory. The said Act makes provisions for the health, safety, welfare, working hours and leave of workers in factories. The said Act is enforced by the State Government through their ‘Factory’ inspectorates. The said Act empowers the State Governments to frame rules, so that the local conditions prevailing in the State are appropriately reflected in the enforcement. The said Act puts special emphasis on welfare, health and safety of workers. The said Act is instrumental in strengthening the provisions relating to safety and health at work, providing for statutory health surveys, requiring appointment of safety officers, establishment of canteen, crèches, and welfare committees etc. in large factories.
The said Act also provides specific safe guards against use and handling of hazardous substance by occupiers of factories and laying down of emergency standards and measures.
Shops and Commercial Establishments
‘Shops and Commercial Establishments’ are regulated by Shops and Commercial Establishments Act which are state statutes and respective states have their respective Shops and Commercial Acts which generally provide for opening and closing hour, leave, weekly off, time and mode of payment of wages, issuance of appointment letter etc.
Statutory Regulation of Condition of Service in Certain Establishments
There is statutory provision for regulating and codifying conditions of service for an industrial establishment employing more than 100 workmen under the provisions of Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 (this Act). Under the provisions of this Act every employer of an Industrial Establishment employing 100 or more workmen is required to define with sufficient precision the condition of employment and required to get it certified by the certifying authorities provided under Section 3 of this Act. Such certified conditions of service will prevail over the terms of contract of employment. In a significant judgment recently the Delhi High Court has held that a hospital even though employing more than 100 workmen is not covered under the provisions of this Act, as a hospital is not an Industrial Establishment as defined under this Act.