Karnataka govt exempts IT/ITeS sector from Industrial Employment Act; trade unions oppose

The Karnataka Government has exempted the IT/ ITeS sector from implementing the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, for a further period of five years.

The development comes despite stiff opposition from trade unions over the same. Labour unions have several times opposed the exemption given to the IT/ITeS sector and have raised the issue with the Labour Commissioner. They now plan to seek the court’s intervention in overturning the latest order.

The exemption comes with conditions which include having an internal committee as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, and an internal grievance redressal committee to address employee complaints. It’s also subject to companies intimating the labour department of any disciplinary action against employees, and promptly submitting information about service conditions demanded by the labour department.

The exemption is also applicable to start-ups, animation, gaming, computer graphics, telecom, BPO, KPO and other knowledge-based industries.

The IT industry has been seeking exemption on the grounds that the Act was primarily meant for factories and other industrial establishments which didn’t have developed HR policies and practices.

The sector also believes its 24×7 operating model, and provision of services to clients, both onsite and offsite, makes it a very different business model from the one the Act seeks to regulate.

The Standing Orders Act, enacted in 1946, monitors terms of employment including termination, misconduct, essential service, resumption of work after shutdown, publication of wage rates, publication of holidays and pay days.

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