This article provides an overview on Employee Welfare in India.
Need for Labour Welfare in India:
The Directive Principles of State Policy in our Constitution expresses the need for labour welfare thus:
1. The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
2. The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing:
3. That the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;
4. That the ownership and control of the material resources are so distributed as to sub-serve the common good.
5. The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
You must provide “adequate and appropriate” welfare facilities for your employees. These must be provided unless they are unreasonable in terms of time, cost and physical difficulty. Welfare facilities include toilets, washing facilities, rest and changing facilities, personal security arrangements (e.g., lockers) and refreshment.
There must be a sufficient number of toilets and washing facilities so that people should not have to queue for long periods to use them. These should be separate for male and female, unless you have a very small number of staff.
The facilities must be clean, and provided with toilet paper, soap, drying facilities, and hot and cold running water. They must be well lit, and ventilated to the external air. Sometimes a shower may be necessary.
Toilets, wash-hand basins, shower and washing facilities Employer must provide:
clean well-ventilated toilets (separate for men and women unless each convenience has- its own lockable door);
Facilities for Women:
Facilities for Men:
a. Wash basins with hot and cold (or warm) running water;
b. Showers for dirty work which may result in contamination of the skin;
c. Soap and towels (or a hand drier).
Employer must supply high-quality drinking water, with and upward drinking jet or suitably cups. Drinking water does not have to be marked unless there is a significant risk of people drinking non-drinking water.
Accommodation for clothing and changing facilities:
Employer must provide lockers or hanging space for clothing and changing facilities where workers wear special clothing. The facilities should allow for drying clothes.
Facilities to Rest and Eat Meals:
Employer must provide places to eat, and rest facilities if you have pregnant women and nursing mothers on staff.
Factories Act, 1948:
The principal Act to provide for various labour welfare measures in India is the Factories Act, 1948. The Act applies to all establishments employing 10 or more workers where power is used and 20 or more workers where power is not used, and where a manufacturing process is being carried on.
Employee Welfare Officer:
Section 49 of the factories act provides that in every factory wherein 500 or more workers are ordinarily employed the employer shall appoint at least one welfare officer.
The welfare officer should possess:
(i) A university degree;
(ii) Degree or diploma in social service or social work or social welfare from a recognized institution; and
(iii) Adequate knowledge of the language spoken by the majority of the workers in the area where the factory is situated.
ii. Counselling workers
iii. Advising management
iv. Establishing liaison with workers
v. Working with management and workers to improve productivity.
vi. Working with outside public to secure proper enforcement of various acts.
Health of Employees:
Every factory shall be kept clean by daily sweeping or washing the floors and work rooms and by using disinfectant where necessary.
b. Disposal of Wastes and Effluents:
Effective arrangements shall be made for the disposal of wastes and for making them innocuous.
c. Ventilation and Temperature:
Effective arrangements shall be made for ventilation and temperature so as to provide comfort to the workers and prevent injury to their health.
d. Dust and Fume:
Effective measures shall be taken to prevent the inhalation and accumulation of dust and fumes or other impurities at the work place.
e. Artificial Humidification:
The State Government shall make rules prescribing standard of humidification and methods to be adopted for this purpose.
There shall be in every work room of a factory in existence on the date of commencement of this act at least 9.9 cubic meters and of a factory built after the commencement of this act at least 4.2 cubic meters of space for every employee.
The State Government may prescribe standards of sufficient and suitable lighting.
h. Drinking Water:
There shall be effective arrangement for wholesome drinking water for workers at convenient points.
i. Latrines and Urinals:
There shall be sufficient number of latrines and urinals, clean, well-ventilated, conveniently situated and built according to prescribed standards separately for male and female workers.
There shall be sufficient number of spittoons placed at convenient places in the factory.
Some of the Health Issues Are Narrated Below Ventilation:
There must be good ventilation:
a. A supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or ventilation systems. It must be uncontaminated and circulated throughout the workplace.
b. Ventilation should also remove and dilute warm air and create air movement without draughts.
In indoor workplaces, employer must provide:
a. A reasonable working temperature; usually at least 16°C, or 13°C for strenuous work (unless other laws require lower temperatures);
b. Local heating or cooling where a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained throughout each workroom, for example, hot and cold processes;
c. Thermal clothing and rest facilities where necessary, for example for ‘hot work’ or cold stores;
d. Heating systems which do not give off dangerous or offensive levels of fume into the workplace;
e. Sufficient space in workrooms.
Employer must provide:
a. Good light; use natural light where possible, but try to avoid glare;
b. A good level of local lighting at workstations where necessary;
c. Suitable forms of lighting. Some fluorescent tubes flicker and can be dangerous with some rotating machinery (because the rotating part can appear to have stopped).
Cleanliness and Waste Materials:
a. Provide clean premises, furniture and fittings such as lights;
b. Provide clean floors and stairs, which are not slippery;
c. Provide containers for waste materials;
d. Remove dirt, refuse and trade waste regularly;
e. Clear up spillages promptly;
f. Keep internal walls and ceilings clean.
Workstations and Seating:
Workstations must fit the worker and the work and people should be able to leave them swiftly in an emergency.
Make sure that:
a. Seat back rests support the small of the back and must provide foot rests if necessary;
b. Work surfaces are at a sensible height;
c. There is easy access to controls on equipment.
Safety of Employees:
1. Fencing of Machinery:
All dangerous and moving parts of a machinery shall be securely fenced. Screws, bolts and teeth shall be completely encased to prevent danger.
2. Work on or Near Machinery in Motion:
Lubrication or other adjusting operation on a moving machinery shall be done only by a specially trained adult male worker.
3. Employment of Young Persons on Dangerous Machines:
No young person shall be allowed to work on any dangerous machine (so prescribed by the state government) unless he is sufficiently trained or is working under the supervision of knowledgeable person.
4. Device for Cutting off Power:
Suitable device for cutting of power in emergencies shall be provided.
5. Hoists and Lifts:
These shall be made of good material and strength, thoroughly examined at least once in every six months and suitably protected to prevent any person or thing from being trapped.
Welfare of Employees:
Chapter V of the factories Act contains provisions about the welfare of employees. These are as follows:
a. There shall be separate and adequately screened washing facilities for the use of male and female employees.
b. There shall be suitable places provided for clothing not worn during working hours and for the dying of wet clothing.
c. There shall be suitable arrangement for all workers to sit for taking rest if they are obliged to work in a standing position.
d. There shall be provided the required number of first-aid boxes or cupboard (at the rate of one for every 150 workers) equipped with the prescribed contents readily available during the working hours of the factory.
e. The State Government may make rules requiring that in any specified factory employing more than 250 employees a canteen shall be provided and maintained by the occupier for the use of the employee.
f. There shall be provided sufficiently lighted and ventilated lunch room if the number of employees ordinarily employed is more than 150.
Restrictions in the Factories Act on the employment of young persons:
1. Prohibition as to Employment of Children (Section 67):
No child who has not completed his fourteenth year shall be required or allowed to work in any factory.
2. Employment of Children and Adolescent (Section 68):
A child who has completed his fourteenth year or an adolescent shall not be required or allowed to work in any factory unless following conditions are fulfilled:
1. The manager of the factory has obtained a certificate of fitness granted to such young
2. While at work, such child or adolescent carries a token giving reference to such certificate.
3. Certificate of Fitness (Section 69):
Before a young person is employed in the factory, a certifying surgeon has to certify that such person is fit for that work in the factory.
In order to provide welfare facilities to the workers employed in mica, iron, ore, manganese ore and chrome ore, limestone and dolomite mines and in the beedi industry, the welfare funds have been established to supplement the efforts of the employers and the State Government under respective enactments.
The welfare measures financed out of the funds relate to development of medical facilities, housing, supply of drinking water, support for education of dependents and recreation, etc.
Benefits are also given voluntarily to workers by some progressive employers. These include loans for purchasing houses and for educating children, leave travel concession, fair price shops for essential commodities and loans to buy personal conveyance.
Machinery Connected with Employee Welfare Work:
1. Chief Inspector of Factories:
It is the duty of the Chief inspector of factories (who generally works under the administrative control of the labour commissioner in each state) to ensure enforcement of various provisions of Factories Act i8n respect of safety, heath and welfare of workers.
2. Central Labour Institute:
The institute was set up in Bombay in 1966 to facilitate the proper implementation of the Factories Act, 1948; to provide a centre of information for inspectors, employers, workers and others concerned with the well being of industrial labour and to stimulate interest in the application of the principles of industrial safety, health and welfare.
3. National Safety Council:
The National Safety Council was wet up on 4th March, 1966 in Bombay at the initiative of the Union Ministry of Labour and Rehabilitation, Government of India, as an autonomous national body with the objective of generating developing and sustaining an movement of safety awareness at the national level.
4. Director General of Mines Safety:
The Director General of Mines Safety enforces the Mines Act, 1952. He inspects electrical installation and machinery provided in the mines and determines the thickness of barriers of 2 adjacent mines in order to prevent spread of fire and danger of inundation.
Appraisal of Welfare Services:
1. One of the main obstacles in the effective enforcement of the welfare provisions of the Factories Act has been the quantitative and qualitative inadequacy of the inspection staffs.
2. At present, a labour welfare officer is not able to enforce laws independently because he has to work under the pressure of management.
3. Women workers do not make use of the crèche facilities either because they are dissuaded by the management to bring their children with them or because they have to face transport difficulties.
National Commission on Employee Recommendations:
1. The statutory provisions on safety are adequate for the time being effective enforcement is the current need.
2. Every fatal accident should thoroughly be enquired into and given wide publicity among workers.
3. Employers should play a more concerted role in safety and accident prevention programme and in arousing safety consciousness.
4. Safety should become a habit with the employers and workers instead of remaining a mere ritual as at present.
5. Unions should take at least as much interest in safety promotion as they take in claims for higher wages.