Welfare Rights Unions  

Welfare Rights Unions


Employee welfare defines as “efforts to make life worth living for workmen”. These efforts have their origin either in some statute formed by the state or in some local custom or in collective agreement or in the employer’s own initiative.

•To give expression to philanthropic and paternalistic feelings.
•To win over employee’s loyalty and increase their morale.
•To combat trade unionism and socialist ideas.
•To build up stable labour force, to reduce labour turnover and absenteeism.
•To develop efficiency and productivity among workers.
•To save oneself from heavy taxes on surplus profits.
•To earn goodwill and enhance public image.
•To reduce the threat of further government intervention.
•To make recruitment more effective (because these benefits add to job appeal).
Principles of Employee Welfare Service

Following are generally given as the principles to be followed in setting up a employee welfare service:

•The service should satisfy real needs of the workers. This means that the manager must first determine what the employee’s real needs are with the active participation of workers.
•The service should such as can be handled by cafeteria approach. Due to the difference in Sex, age, marital status, number of children, type of job and the income level of employees there are large differences in their choice of a particular benefit. This is known as the cafeteria approach. Such an approach individualises the benefit system though it may be difficult to operate and administer.
•The employer should not assume a benevolent posture.
•The cost of the service should be calculate and its financing established on a sound basis.
•There should be periodical assessment or evaluation of the service and necessary timely on the basis of feedback.
Types of Employee Welfare Services

¯ Safety Services

Prevention of accidents is an objective which requires o explanation.

The costs of accidents are enormous in suffering to the injured, in reduction or loss of earnings, in disabilities and incapacities which afflict those involved and in compensation, insurance and legal costs, in lost time, filling in reports and attending to enquiries, and in spoilage of materials, equipment and tools to management.

Accidents are the consequence of two basic factors: technical and human. Technical factors include all engineering deficiencies, related to plant, tools material and general work environment. Thus, for example, improper lighting, inadequate ventilation, poor machine guarding and careless housekeeping are some hazards which may cause accidents. Human factors include all unsafe acts on the part of employees. An unsafe act is usually the result of carelessness.

Young and new employees, because of their difficulty in adjusting to the work situation and to life in general, also have many more accidents than do old and nature workers.

The Phenomenon of Accident Proneness. Some persons believe wrongly in the theory that certain individuals are accident prone, that is , they have some personality trait as opposed to some characteristic of the environment which predisposes them to have more accidents than others in work condition where the risk of hazards is equal to all.

Components of a Safety Service

Among the many components of a safety service the following have proved effective when applied in combination:

•Appointment of safety officer
In big organizations, the appointment of a safety officer to head

the safety department is a must. In small organizations, the personnel manager may look after the functions of this department. The head of the safety department, who is usually a staff man, is granted power to inspect the plant for unsafe condition, to promote sound safety practices (through posters an d safety campaigns), to make safety rules, and to report violations to the plant manager.

•Support by line management
The head of the safety department, whether enjoying a staff or a

functional position, by himself, cannot make a plan safe. His appointment lulls line management into assuming that all its safety problems have been solved.

•Elimination of hazards
Although complete elimation of all hazards is virtually an

impossibility but following steps can be taken to help reduce them:

•Job safety analysis
All job procedures and practices should be analysed by

an expert to discover hazards. he should then suggest changes in their motion patterns, sequence and the like.

A poorly placed employee is more apt to incur injury

than a properly placed employee. Employees should be placed on jobs only after carefully estimating and considering the job requirements with those which the individual apparently possesses.

•Personal protective equipment
Endless variety of personal safety equipment is available

nowadays which can be used to prevent inju

•Safeguarding machinery
Guards must be securely fixed to all powerdriven


•Materials handling
Though often ignored, the careless handling of heavy and

inflammable materials is an important source of several injuries and fire.

•Hand tools
Minor injuries often result from improperly using a good

tool or using a poorly designed tool. Therefore, close supervision and instruction should be given to the employees on the proper tool to use an the proper use of the tool.

•Safety training, education and publicity
Safety training is concerned with developing safety skills,

whereas safety education is concerned with increasing contest programmes, safety campaigns, suggestion awards, and various audiovisual aids can be considered as different forms of employee education.

•Safety inspection
An inspection by a trained individual or a committee to detect

evidence of possible safety hazards (such as poor lighting, slippery floors, unguarded machines, faulty electrical installations, poor work methods and disregard of safety rules) is a very effective device to promote safety.

Health Services

The prevention of accident constitutes only on segment of the function of employee maintenance. Another equally important segment is the employee’s general health, both physical and mental.

There are two aspects of industrial health services

2.Curative, the former consists of
3.pre-employment and periodic medical examination,
4.removal or reduction of health hazards to the maximum extent possible,
5.Surveillance over certain classes of workers such as women, young persons and persons exposed to special risks.
Counseling Services

An employee very often comes across problems which have emotional content. For example, he may be nearing retirement and feeling insecure or he may be getting promotion and feeling hesitant to shoulder increased responsibility or he may be worried due to some family problem.

Employee Welfare in India

The chapter on 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 subserve the common good.
1.The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
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.

¯ Supervision

¯ Counseling workers

¯ Advising management

¯ Establishing liaison with workers

¯ Working with management and workers to improve productivity.

¯ Working with outside public to secure proper enforcement of various acts.

Health of Employees

•Cleanliness. Every factory shall be kept clean by daily sweeping or washing the floors and work rooms and by using disinfectant where necessary.
•Disposal of wastes and effluents. Effective arrangements shall be made for the disposal of wastes and for making them innocuous.
•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.

•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.

•Artificial humidification. The State Government shall make rules prescribing standard of humidification and methods to be adopted for this purpose.

•Overcrowding. There shall be in every work room of a factory in existence on the date of commencement of this act at least 9.9cubic meters and of a factory built after the commencement of this act at least 4.2 cubic meters of space for every employee.

•Lighting. The State Government may prescribe standards of sufficient and suitable lighting.

•Drinking Water. There shall be effective arrangement for wholesome drinking water for workers at convenient points.

•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.

•Spittoons. There shall be sufficient number of spittoons placed at convenient places in the factory.

Safety of Employees

•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.
•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.
•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.
•Device for cutting off power. Suitable device for cutting of power in emergencies shall be provided.
•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:

•There shall be separate and adequately screened washing facilities for the use of male and female employees.
•There shall be suitable places provided for clothing not worn during working hours and for the dying of wet clothing.
•There shall be suitable arrangement for all workers to sit for taking rest if they are obliged to work in a standing position.
•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.
•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.
•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.

Welfare Funds

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.

Voluntary Benefits

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 staff. 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.

The connotation of the term “Social Security” varies form country to country with different political ideologies. In socialist countries, the avowed goal is complete protection to every citizen form the cradle to the grave.

There are some components of Social Security:

•Medical care
•Sickness benefit
•Unemployment benefit
•Old-age benefit
•Employment injury benefit
•Family benefit
•Maternity benefit
•Invalidity benefit and
•Survivor’s benefit
Social Securities may be of two types

1.Social assistance under which the State finances the entire cost of the facilities and benefits provided.
2.Social insurance, under the State organizes the facilities financed by contributions form the workers and employers, with or without a subsidy from the state.
Social Security in India

At present both types of social security schemes are in vogue in our country. Among the social assistance schemes are the most important.

The social insurance method, which has gained much wider acceptance than the social assistance method, consists of the following enactments.

The workmen’s Compensation Act, 1961.

The Employee’s State Insurance Act, 1948.

The employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.

Employees’ compensation Act, 1923

a. Coverage. This Act covers all workers employed in factories, mines, plantations, transport undertakings, construction works, railways, ships, circus and other hazardous occupations specified in schedule II of the Act.

The Act empowers the State Government to extend the coverage of the Act by adding any hazardous occupation to the list of such occupations is schedule II.

1.Administration. The Act is administered by the State Government which appoints Commissioners for this purpose under sec. 20 of the Act.
2.Benefits. Under the Act, compensation is payable by the employer to a workman for all personal injuries caused to him by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment which disable him for more than 3 days.
2. Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948

1.Other than seasonal factories, run with power and employing 20 or more workers.
2.Administration. The Act is administered by the ESI corporation, an autonomous body consisting of representatives of the Central and State Governments, employers, employees, medical profession and parliament.
3.Benefits. The Act, which provides for a system of compulsory insurance, is a landmark in the history of social security legislation in India.
1.Medical Benefit. An insured person or (where medical benefit bas been extended to his family) a member of his family who requires medical treatment is entitled to receive medical benefit free of charge.
2.Sickness Benefit. An insured person, when he is sick, is also entitled to get sickness benefit at the standard benefit rate corresponding to his average daily wage.
3.An insured woman is entitled to receive maternity benefit (which is twice the sickness benefit rate) for all days on which she does not work for remaining during a period of 12 weeks of which not more than 6 weeks shall precede the expected date of confinement.
4.The Act makes a three-fold classification of injuries in the same way as is done in the workmen’s compensation Act.
5.Dependant’s Benefit. If an insured person meets with an accident in the course of his employment an dies as a result thereof, his dependants, i.e. his widow, legitimate or adopted sons and legitimate unmarried daughters get this benefit.
3. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

Maternity benefit is one of the important benefits provided under the

Employees State Insurance Act, 1948. Another important legislation in this respect is the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The Act covers only those persons who are not covered by the Employees State Insurance Act. The Act entitles a woman employee to claim maternity leave from her employer if she has actually worked for a period of at least 160 days in the 12 months immediately proceeding the day of her expected delivery.

The act further provides for the payment of medical bonus of Rs. 250

to the confined woman worker.

The committee on the status of women in India 1974 has, there fore,

recommended the following changes in the Act:

1.The administration of the fund should follow the pattern already established by the ESIC.
2.For casual labour a minimum of 3 months of service should be considered as qualification service for this benefit.
3.This will provide greater incentive to women workers to participate in trade union activities.
1. The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972

1.Coverage. The Act applies to every factory, mine, oilfield, plantation, port and railway company and to every shop or establishment in which 10 or more persons are employed, or were employed, on any day of the preceding 12 months.
2.Administration. The Act is administered by a controlling authority appointed by the appropriate Government.
3.Benefits. Under the Act gratuity is payable to an employee on the termination of his employment after he has rendered continuous service for not less than five years. The completion of continuous service of five years is, how ever, not necessary where the termination of the employment is due to death or disablementGratuity is payable at the rate of 15 days’ wages based on the rate of wages last drawn by the employee for every complete year of service or part thereof in excess of six months. But the amount of gratuity payable to an employee shall not exceed Rs. 3.5 lakh.
4.Source of Funds. Under the Act gratuity is payable entirely by the Employer. For this purpose is required either (i) to obtain insurance with the Life Insurance Corporation, or (ii) to establish a gratuity fund. Thus it is his liability to pay the premium in the first case to make the contribution in the second case.

About Author
S.Shiny Nair