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Drafting of HR policies in line of Industrial Dispute Standing Order

The Human Resource department of any organization must have a concise, clear and correct policy to guide its actions. Such policy helps the organization to mitigate complex problems easily. When there is a policy the decision making of the manager remains in line with the goals of the organization. Though a policy will change according to the needs of the organization along with the environment in which it operates. But in general sense a HR policy will have the following elements:-
1) Classification of Workmen or Employees:
The policy must state the methodology of classification of the work force into the following categories:
(1) Permanent,
(2) Probationers,
(3) Badlis,
(4) Temporary,
(5) Casual,
(6) Apprentices.
The INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYMENT (STANDING ORDERS), defines them as follows:-
(a) A “permanent workman” is a workman who has been engaged on a permanent basis and includes any person who has satisfactorily completed a probationary period of three months in the same or another occupation in the industrial establishment, including breaks due to sickness, accident, leave, lock-out, strike (not being an illegal strike) or involuntary closure of the establishment.
(b) A “probationer” is a workman who is provisionally employed to fill a permanent vacancy in a post and has not completed three months’ service therein. If a permanent employee is employed as a probationer in a new post he may, at any time during the probationary period of three months, be reverted to his old permanent post.
(c) A “badli” is a workman who is appointed in the post of a permanent workman or probationer who is temporarily absent.
(d) A “temporary workman” is a workman who has been engaged for work which is of an essentially temporary nature likely to be finished within a limited period.
(e) A “casual workman” is a workman whose employment is of a casual nature.
(f) An “apprentice” is a learner who is paid an allowance during the period of his training.

2) Issue of Identity Card and Access Control:
Identity Card is referred to as a “Ticket” under the INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYMENT (STANDING ORDERS). In this regards the standing order prescribes the following protocols:-
1.    Every workman shall be given a permanent ticket unless he is a probationer, badli, temporary worker or apprentice.

2.    Every permanent workman shall be provided with a departmental ticket showing his number, and shall, on being required to do so, show it to any person authorized by the manager to inspect it.

3.    Every badli shall be provided with the badli card on which shall be entered the days on which he has worked in the establishment, and which shall be surrendered if he obtains permanent employment.

4.    Every temporary workman shall be provided with a ‘temporary’ ticket which he shall surrender on his discharge.

5.    Every casual worker shall be provided with a “casual” card, on which shall be entered the days on which he has worked in the establishment.

6.    Every apprentice shall be provided with an ‘apprentice’ card, which shall be surrendered if he obtains permanent employment.

3) Working Hours:
Section 4 of WBSE Act (West Bengal Shops & Estab Act), mentions a working week of 5.5 days. So your contention is correct. Also Section 7 prescribes 48 hours as the permitted working hours per week. So the policy must take into consideration the stipulated working hours of the employee’s according to the Shops and Establishment Act of the state or Factories Act.
Under Order 9, all workmen shall be at work in the establishment at the times fixed and notified. Workmen attending late shall be liable to be shut out and treated as absent. It also provides that no workman who attends within 15 minutes of the starting time shall be shut out. Any workman who is found absent from his proper place of work during working hours without permission or without sufficient reason shall be liable to be treated as absent for the period of his absence. We recommend inserting these in the policy.
The periods and hours of work for all classes of workers in each shift shall be exhibited in English and in the principal languages of workman employed in the establishment on notice-boards maintained at or near the main entrance of the establishment and at the time-keeper’s office, if any.
4) Holidays and Leaves:
A person employed in a shop or an establishment shall be entitled—
1.    For every completed year of continuous service, to privilege leave on full pay for fourteen days
2.    In every year, to sick leave on half pay for fourteen days on medical certificate obtained from a medical practitioner.
3.    In every year, to casual leave on full pay for ten days
4.    In the case of woman, to maternity leave in accordance with such rules as may be prescribed.
In each week, every shop or commercial establishment shall remain entirely closed on, and every person employed in a shop or an establishment shall be allowed as holiday, at least one day and a half day with full wages.
Also, on National Holidays that are declared by each state separately, employee must be allowed holidays with full wages. The periods and hours of work for all classes of workers in each shift shall be exhibited in English and in the principal languages of workman employed in the establishment on notice-boards maintained at or near the main entrance of the establishment and at the time-keeper’s office, if any.

5) Attendance and late coming:
All workmen shall be at work at the time fixed and notified under Paragraph. Workmen attending late will be liable to the deductions provided for in the Payment of Wages Act, 1936.

6) Payment of wages
(1) Any wages, due to the workmen but not paid on the usual pay day on account of their being unclaimed, shall be paid by the employer on an unclaimed wage pay day in each week, which shall be notified on the notice-boards as aforesaid.
(2) All workmen will be paid wages on a working day before the expiry of the seventh or the tenth day after the last day of the wage period in respect of which the wages are payable, according as the total number of workmen employed in the establishment does not or does exceed one thousand.

7) Stoppage of work:
(1) The employer may, at any time, in the event of fire, catastrophe, breakdown of machinery or stoppage of power-supply, epidemics, civil commotion or other cause beyond his control, stop any section or sections of the establishment, wholly or partially for any period or periods without notice.
(2) In the event of such stoppage during working hours, the workmen affected shall be notified by notices put upon the notice-board in the department concerned, and at the office of the employer and at the time-keeper’s office, if any, as soon as practicable, when work will be resumed and whether they are to remain or leave their place of work.
The workmen shall not ordinarily be required to remain for more than two hours after the commencement of the stoppage. If the period of detention does not exceed one hour the workmen so detained shall not be paid for the period of detention. If the period of detention exceeds one hour, the workmen so detained shall be entitled to receive wages for the whole of the time during which they are detained as a result of the stoppage. In the case of piece-rate workers, the average daily earning for the previous month shall be taken to be the daily wage. No other compensation will be admissible in case of such stoppage. Whenever practicable, reasonable notice shall be given of resumption of normal work.
(3) In case where workmen are laid off for short periods on account of failure of plant or a temporary curtailment of production, the period of unemployment shall be treated as compulsory leave either with or without pay, as the case may be. When, however, workmen have to be laid off for an indefinitely long period, their services may be terminated after giving them due notice or pay in lieu thereof.
(4) The employer may in the event of a strike affecting either wholly or partially any section or department of the establishment close down either wholly or partially such section or department and any other section or department affected by such closing down. The fact of such closure shall be notified by notices put on the notice-board in the section or department concerned and in the time-keeper’s office, if any, as soon as practicable. The workmen concerned shall also be notified by a general notice, prior to resumption of work, as to when work will be resumed.

8) Termination of employment:
(1) For terminating employment of permanent workmen, notice in writing shall be given either by the employer or the workmen - one month’s notice in the case of monthly-rated workmen and two weeks’ notice in the case of other workmen: one month’s or two week’s pay, as the case may be, may be paid in lieu of notice.
(2) No temporary workman whether monthly-rated, weekly-rated or piece-rated and no probationer or badli shall be entitled to any notice or pay in lieu thereof if his services are terminated ,but the services of a temporary workman shall not be terminated as a punishment unless he has been given an opportunity of explaining the charges of misconduct alleged against him in the manner prescribed.
(3) Where the employment of any workmen is terminated, the wages earned by him and other dues, if any, shall be paid before the expiry of the second working day from the day on which his employment is terminated.
9) Disciplinary action for misconduct
(1) A workman may be fined up to two per cent of his wages in a month for the following acts and omissions, namely:
(a) Willful in subordination or disobedience, whether alone or in combination with others, to any lawful and reasonable order of a superior,
(b) Theft, fraud or dishonesty in connection with the employer’s business or property,
(c) Willful damage to or loss of employer’s goods or property,
(d) Taking or giving bribes or any illegal gratification,
(e) Habitual absence without leave or absence without leave for more than 10 days,
(f) Habitual late attendance,
(g) Habitual breach of any law applicable to the establishment,
(h) Riotous or disorderly behaviors during working hours at the establishment or any act subversive of discipline,
(i) Habitual negligence or neglect of work,
(j) Frequent repetition of any act or omission for which a fine may be imposed to a maximum of 2 per cent of the wages in a month.
(k) Striking work or inciting others to strike work in contravention of the provision of any law, or rule having the force of law.

9) Suspension Of Employee:

Where a disciplinary proceeding against a workman is contemplated or is pending or where criminal proceedings against him in respect of any offence are under investigation or trial and the employer is satisfied that it is necessary or desirable to place the workman under suspension, he may, by order in writing suspend him with effect from such date as may be specified in the order. A statement setting out in detail the reasons for such suspension shall be supplied to the workman within a week from the date of suspension.

A workman who is placed under suspension shall, during the period of such suspension, be paid a subsistence allowance.

10) Complaints against Employee:
All complaints arising out of employment including those relating to unfair treatment or wrongful exaction on the part of the employer or his agent shall be submitted to the manager or other person specified in this behalf with the right of appeal to the employer.

There are many other points that may be added to the policy. But prima facie the above mentioned points cover a majority of issues.


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