ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Labour Codes and Implications for Women Workers

The union government has enacted four new codes amalgamating existing 29 labour legislations, and presently is in the process of finalising the rules. This paper examines the probable impact of such changes on women workers, in the context of the declining female labour force participation rate in the last few decades. Labour laws need to be reframed in such a manner that they contain measures that facilitate greater female participation in the labour market. Broadly, the new codes have retained the provisions and added few, which may facilitate women’s participation. But there are areas of omission too, particularly in the informal sector, where the majority of women workers are employed. The analysis draws from feminist legal scholarship for a more nuanced understanding of the issue of legal protection beyond an economic rights perspective.

The authors are extremely grateful to the reviewer for their insightful comments on this paper.

The second National Commission on Labour (NCL) 2002 realised the need for rationalisation of labour laws in the context of globalisation, trade liberalisation, incr­eased competition, technological transformation, and its impact on work and work relationships.1 The commission also recognised the need to pay special attention to women workers, along with the overall labour protection and welfare. Refl­ecting upon the history of labour regulation in India, it is obs­erved that the first NCL (1969) was in favour of extending protective legislation for encouraging women’s employment and the second NCL had highlighted the need for collecting data pertaining to women’s work adequately, along with the legis­lative provisions that eliminate discriminatory practices.2 The process of labour reforms had therefore started in the country, for simplification of various labour legislations, in line with the transformations in the world of work and techno­logical advancements.

The Context

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Updated On : 6th Feb, 2023
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