Cos may soon have to pay for migrant worker's home trip

Employers may soon have to pay for migrant worker's trip back home once a year

As per the proposal, employers will now have to pay a lump sum amount every year to inter-state migrant workers to travel back home

Lakhs of migrant labourers had to walk back to their village due to absence of food, shelter and income during the lockdown. Credit: PTI Photo

The Modi government has proposed that employers will have to pay for migrant workers’ trip to home, which can be a train (not below Second Class Sleeper), bus or other modes of transport, once a year. 

As per the new draft of labour laws published by the Union Labour Ministry, the employers can pay a lump sum amount every year to inter-state migrant workers to travel back home. To avail should have worked for that particular establishment for at least six months in the preceding year.

Along with this, the draft also states that the ministry will establish a toll-free helpline number.

With respect to contract labourers, the draft proposes that a contractor shall fix the wage periods which will not exceed one month. Contractors are bound to pay wages before the end of the seventh day after the day of the wage period. It has to be paid through bank transfer or electronic mode only.

The draft also mandates that companies will have to conduct annual free health check-ups for every worker above the age of 45 years. It also states that a single electronic registration for licensing will be set up by the company. 

The barrage of changes was made in light of the migrant crisis which saw lakhs of labourers struggling to get back to their home states during the nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown. 

The government faced criticism from all fronts after it was not able to provide data on how many migrants died or lost their source of income during the exodus where workers were forced to leave factories, business on foot in the absence of food, shelter and income.

The draft rules come under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Act, 2020, which deals with the safety, health and working conditions of construction workers, miners, inter-states migrant workers, audio-visual workers, journalists, salespersons, contract labourers and workers at the dock. 

The ministry has sought objections and suggestions from the public on the draft proposals within 45 days.