Everything you need to know about labour welfare. Labour welfare relates to taking care of the well-being of workers by employers, trade unions, governmental and non-governmental institutions and agencies.
Welfare includes anything that is done for the comfort and improvement of employees and is provided over and above the wages.
Welfare helps in keeping the morale and motivation of the employees high so as to retain the employees for longer duration.
Industrial Labour Organisation (ILO) – “Labour welfare may be understood and including such services facilities and amenities which may be established in vicinity of undertaking to perform their work in healthy and congenial environment and to avail of facilities which improve their health and bring high morale.”
1. Introduction to Labour Welfare 2. Meaning of Labour Welfare 3. Definitions 4. Evolution 5. Scope 6. Concept 7. Objectives 8. Features
9. Principles 10. Importance 11. Qualifications and Functions of Labour Welfare Officer 12. Services 13. Theories 14. Funds 15. Position in India.
Labour Welfare: Meaning, Definition, Evolution, Scope, Importance, Services, Theories, Funds and Position in India
- Introduction to Labour Welfare
- Meaning of Labour Welfare
- Definitions of Labour Welfare
- Evolution of Labour Welfare
- Scope of Labour Welfare
- Concept of Labour Welfare
- Objectives of Labour Welfare
- Features of Labour Welfare
- Principles of Labour Welfare
- Importance of Labour Welfare Measures
- Qualifications and Functions of Labour Welfare Officer
- Labour Welfare Services
- Theories of Labour Welfare
- Employee Welfare Funds
- Labour Welfare – Position in India
Labour Welfare – Introduction
The term “Welfare” refers to a staff of living of an individual or a group in the context of his physical, social and psychic environment. The concept of labour welfare has undergone considerable change. Social and economic development of the country has to be towards the enactment of labour welfare and labour protective legislations. An individual’s adjustment to his environment is required for his existence in the industrial world.
A workers is paid for the types of his services but payment depends on nature of work, his efficiency, capacity of the industry to pay and significance of his work in that particular industry. A worker has to maintain balance at workplace. He has to adjust with the physical working conditions as well as with type of supervision, co-workers, etc.
The acceptance, respect, goodwill, attention and recognition, which a worker gets from his work group, community, family and neighbourhood forms an integral part of the modern concept of labour welfare. Capacity of the worker to satisfy his physiological needs like food, clothing and shelter from his pay packet refers to physical concept of labour welfare.
But economic status governs his social status in modern society; type of food which he can afford, types and quality of dresses which he and his family members wear and nature of house with types of comforts determine his social status. Thus welfare is a physical concept as well as a social concept.
Every society has its own moral codes and conduct. A worker has to adobe by its ethical values. There are do’s and don’ts of the society. For example, prohibition may be a state law but it may be a customary practice to provide drinks to the guests on certain social occasions like marriage ceremony, death ceremony, etc.
All these concepts of labour welfare physical, social and moral are inter-related. Purchasing powers of money-wages determine a worker’s social status and morals of the society govern his day-to-day behaviour. Thus welfare is a total concept. Totalitarian concept on the other hand, concept of labour welfare differs from society-to-society, country-to-country and it also changes with changing time.
So it is difficult to decide minimum and maximum condition of labour welfare. Whatever are the minimum requirements for western workers might be maximum for developing country’s workers. Similarly, whatever is minimum for officers might be maximum for lower cadre workers? Needs of young workers differ from those of old workers?
Even for same workers needs of welfare are different at different stages of their life. Thus welfare is a relative concept; it is related with time, age, and culture, social and moral values, etc.
Labour Welfare – Meaning
Labour welfare relates to taking care of the well-being of workers by employers, trade unions, governmental and non-governmental institutions and agencies. Welfare includes anything that is done for the comfort and improvement of employees and is provided over and above the wages.
Welfare helps in keeping the morale and motivation of the employees high so as to retain the employees for longer duration. Employee welfare includes monitoring of working conditions, creation of industrial harmony through infrastructure for health, industrial relations and insurance against disease, accident and unemployment for the workers and their families.
According to ILO, labour welfare can be defined as a term, which is understood to include such services, facilities, and amenities as may be established in or in the vicinity of undertakings to enable the persons employed in them to perform their work in healthy, congenial surroundings and to provide them with amenities conducive to good health and high morale.
Oxford dictionary- “Labour welfare is efforts to make life worth living for workmen.” The need for providing such services and facilities arise from the social responsibility of industries, a desire for upholding democratic values and a concern for employees. Welfare includes anything that is done for the comfort and improvement of employees and is provided over and above the wages.
Welfare helps in keeping the morale and motivation of the employees high so as to retain the employees for longer duration. The welfare measures need not be in monetary terms only but in any kind/forms. Employee welfare includes monitoring of working conditions, creation of industrial harmony through infrastructure for health, industrial relations and insurance against disease, accident and unemployment for the workers and their families.
Labour welfare entails all those activities of employer, which are directed towards providing the employees with certain facilities and services in addition to wages or salaries. Labour welfare implies providing better work conditions for example, proper lighting, cleanliness, low noise, etc. and amenities viz. recreation, housing, education, etc. Arthur James Todd- “Labour welfare means anything done for the comfort and improvement, intellectual and social, of the employees over and above the wages paid which is not a necessity of the Industry.”
Labour Welfare – Definitions Given by Different Experts, Dictionaries and ILO
Labour welfare has been defined by different authors in different ways but every definition has its own significance.
The definitions given by different experts are the following:
The Oxford dictionary explains labour welfare as efforts to make life worth-living for workers.
Chamber’s dictionary explains welfare as a state of faring or doing well; freedom from calamity, enjoyment of health, prosperity, etc.
According to Industrial Labour Organisation (ILO), “Labour welfare may be understood and including such services facilities and amenities which may be established in vicinity of undertaking to perform their work in healthy and congenial environment and to avail of facilities which improve their health and bring high morale.”
Further, ILO report speaks of labour welfare as such services, facilities and amenities which may be established outside or in the vicinity of undertakings, to enable the persons employed therein to perform their work in healthy and congenial surroundings and to provide them with amenities conducive to good health and high morale. (ILO, Asian Regional Conference Report-H 1947)
In the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, welfare is defined as – “the voluntary efforts of the employers to establish, within the existing industrial system working and sometimes living and a cultural condition of the employees beyond what is required by law, the customs of the industry and the conditions of die market.”
According to Arthur James Todd, “Labour welfare means anything done for the comfort and improvement, intellectual and social, of the employees over and above the wages paid which is not a necessity of the Industry.”
S.T. Edwards (1953)- “One can buy a man’s time, his physical presence at a particular space, even a few muscular movements, but enthusiasm, initiative, loyalty and devotion to duty cannot be bought. They will have to be created through right employer-employee relations, provision of constructive opportunities for satisfying the major motivating desires of human action.”
In 1931 the Royal Commission on Labour stressed the need of labour welfare primarily because of the harsh treatment meted out to the workers.
Thus the essence and emphasis of definition of labour welfare lay stress on the improvement to workers’ intellectual, social and moral well-being. It can be derived from the definitions mentioned above that labour welfare aims at providing better living and working conditions. It should be either a voluntary effort by the employer or in some cases; government should take the responsibilities of workers’ welfare or to enforce legal measures to protect the interest of the workers.
Labour Welfare – Evolution in India
In India, labour welfare programmes are evolved through philanthropist, religious leaders, social workers and voluntary organisations. With the inception of industrial revolution, large-scale industries were established in big cities.
Workers migrated from villages to cities. They were attracted by higher wages, comforts and recreation of city life; but they were exposed to bad working conditions, long hours of work, low wages, health hazards, and absence of safety measures and unsatisfactory working and living conditions.
First Factories Act was passed in 1981. At that time it was applicable to factories employing not less 100 workers using power. Today, the Act is implemented in factories employing 10 or more workers with the aid of power and 20 or more workers without the use of power.
The Government of India appointed a committee to review the conditions of industrial labour in 1907. On the basis of the recommendations of the committee a more comprehensive Act, the Indian factories Act of 1910 was introduce for all seasonal factories. The hours of work for adult male workers were specified to 12 per day. Today it is 8 hours a day.
Some voluntary efforts in the interest of welfare of workers were made by the amalgamated society of Railway servants of India and Burma. The Printers Union, Calcutta (1905) and the Bombay Postal Union (1907) introduced mutual insurance schemes, night schools, educational stipends, funeral allowances, etc.
The First World War 1914 led to new developments. The number of factories and the number of persons employed therein increased. Wages did not keep race with the rising prices and profits.
The establishment of the International Labour organisation in 1919 was a landmark in the history of labour movement. ILO created a conciseness and unity amongst workers. All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was established in 1920. The Indian Factories Amendment Act of 1922 was passed.
It was applicable to all factories employing not less than 20 persons. Children below the age of 12 and 14 were not allowed to work for more than 6 hours a day. Children and women were not employed between 7.00 p.m. and 5.30 a.m.
The Royal Commission on labour was appointed in 1929. It made on exhaustive survey of conditions of workers. Its observation led to the enactment of a number of legislations like Payment of Wages Act, Minimum Wages Act, etc. In 1949 Labour Investigation Committee (Rege Committee) was appointed. The committee made a detailed survey of working conditions, housing, slum, education of workers, etc.
In the meanwhile Second World War had its own impact. After independence different central trade unions were established AITUC (1949), HMS (1948), INTUC (1994), BMS (1995), CITU (1990) and NLO.
On the basis of the recommendations of Rege Committee Governments of India enacted the present Factories Act, 1948. The directive principle of state policy of the constitution of India also states that, “The state shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and promoting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political shall inform all the institutions of national life”.
All the Five Year Plans have protected the interest of workers. The National Commission on Labour was introduced in 1960-69. It has dealt with labour problems most comprehensively.
Labour Welfare – Scope of Labour Welfare: Working Environment, Health Facilities, General Welfare Facilities and Economic Welfare Facilities
Welfare service are divided into two groups – (a) Welfare services within the premises of the factory (intra-mural) such as – drinking and washing facilities, bathing, creche, canteen, rest room, shelter, prevention of fatigue and safety devices and (b) Welfare amenities outside the establishment (extra-mural) include social security measures like social insurance, social assistance, recreation, sports, workers’ education, etc.
It also includes, cooperative credit societies transportation, housekeeping. Scope of labour welfare takes care of workers’ life from cradle to grave as employees’ state insurance scheme provides medicine to a worker child and provides funeral benefit to a worker after his last minutes in this world. Scope of labour welfare includes statutory and non-statutory welfare amenities which are also increasing day-by-day and in most of workers’ welfare is by and large acceptable to society.
On the whole labour welfare aims at minimizing stress and strains of industrial workers. It observes that workers get clean and neat environment of work. They should get safe working conditions with minimum hazards of work life. They should be able to live a life with dignity, status and self-respect Scope differs from industry-to-industry and country-to-country.
As per 1981 census, women workers constitute about 19 per cent of the total workforce (i.e., 45 million out of 222 million). Out of 45 million a small fraction of about 2 million women workers were employed in the organized sector. They were not covered by any protective labour legislation.
Majority of women are employed in cotton textile, bide making, garment industries, rice mills, tobacco cutting, Cashewnut, matches, construction work, plantations, and household and small-scale industries. On account of scientific and technological development of the country, there is an increase in the employment of women in electronics industries.
The scope of Labour Welfare is very broad because it covers different industries and activities.
However, the researchers have summarized the scope and listed the following facilities covered in the scope are:
Scope # 1. Working Environment:
Conducive working environment helps to improve efficiency of workers and includes proper lighting, temperature, ventilation, safety, sanitation, transportation, cleanliness, seating arrangement and canteen facilities. Workplace sanitation and cleanliness is very important for making workplace helpful for workers to work.
Following activities are important to make it conducive for working:
a. Proper ventilation using cross windows and doors, adequate lighting, controlled temperature, regular cleanliness, seating/standing arrangements for working, etc.
b. Proper safety measures for lift, elevators, ropes, cranes, electric and dangerous operating.
c. Sufficient urinals separate for gents and ladies, lavatories and bathing facilities with regular proper cleaning.
d. Proper gardening with watering facilities and cleanliness of surrounding regularly.
e. Pure drinking water facilities with purification and cooling facilities.
f. Well maintained canteen services with good quality of food at nominal rates.
Scope # 2. Health Facilities:
Health is wealth. To maintain good health of the workers, the required health facilities should be maintained up to required standard.
It includes the following facilities:
a. Health centre for regular check-up for workers and their families should be provided within factory or nearest place.
b. Availability of ambulance service at telephone call itself should be provided in case of emergency.
c. Free and regular medical check-up of workers and counselling regarding health and diet to workers.
d. Availability medical staff and of doctors inside the factory for emergency.
e. Welfare facilities for women and children such as – crèches, checking for pregnancy, etc.
f. Suitable sports and recreation facilities in the premises.
g. Schooling, vocational training facilities and library services
Scope # 3. General Welfare Facilities:
a. Housing facilities for workers near to the work facilities.
b. Cleaning and sanitation facilities in housing facilities.
c. To and fro transportation facilities for workers and their children going for schools
d. Sports facilities of indoor and outdoor in the residential location.
e. Family planning and family care counselling.
f. Entertainment facilities in the campus for workers and their families.
g. Transport facilities for tours, picnics and festival celebration.
Scope # 4. Economic Welfare Facilities:
a. Subsidized consumer goods including grains, vegetables, milk, oil and other daily requirements through cooperative stores.
b. Banking, postal, services and credit facilities through credit society.
c. Health insurance schemes by employers free of costs.
d. Regular basis bonus and profit-sharing schemes.
Labour Welfare – 3 Important Concepts: Holistic Concept, Social Concept and Relative Concept
The concept of ‘Labour welfare’ is flexible and elastic and differs widely with times, regions, industry, country, social values and customs, the degree of industrialization, the general social economic development of people and political ideologies prevailing at particular moments.
The Committee on Labour Welfare (1969)- “Such facilities and amenities as adequate canteens, rest and recreation facilities, sanitary and medical facilities arrangements for travel to and from and for accommodation of workers employed at a distance from their homes, and such other services, amenities and facilities including social security measures as contribute to conditions under which workers are employed.”
The second report of the LLO- “Labour welfare as, such services and amenities which may be established in or in the vicinity of undertakings to enable the persons employed in them to perform their work in healthy, congenial surroundings and such amenities conducive to good health, and high morale.”
Labour welfare can be described in terms of three dimensions namely the holistic welfare initiatives, social and relative welfare programs taken by the organization.
1. Holistic Concept of Labour Welfare:
The “holistic” concept of labour welfare can be described as the achievement of desirable state of existence involving physical, mental, moral and emotional well-being of the working class. One case could be cited here to illustrate holistic labour welfare.
In the Peenya Industrial Area of Bangalore, the Peenya Industrial Association (PIA) which is a professional body/association comprising of the membership of almost all big/large, medium/small enterprises in the area had catered all feasible initiatives in the Peenya area so as to improve the quality of work life of the enterprises working in this part of the city of Bangalore.
This includes conducting special training and induction programs for workers from various expertise and capabilities, counseling programs, entrepreneurial development programs, providing financial assistance to sick units and needy workers, extending insurance schemes and facilitating loans to needy employees, improving the condition of the roads, drainage, lighting of the roads (done in association with BESCOM and the state Government authorities) and also ensuring the preservation of the greenery of the area.
2. Social Concept of Labour Welfare:
The social concept of labour welfare involves the wellbeing of an individual and the harmonious relationship established with the community and even his/her own family, working groups, superiors, subordinates etc.
3. Relative Concept of Labour Welfare:
Labour welfare could be considered as a more or less relative term; relative to the time, place and even the individual(s) concerned. Hence taking this into consideration labour welfare should be described in terms of a dynamic and flexible concept. Thus the concept of labour welfare may vary from place to place, industry to industry and even country to country.
Labour Welfare – Aims and Objectives
Labour welfare aims at total development of workers personality based on humanitarian grounds. It aims at helping the needy, the poor and the most deserving community. Major objective of labour welfare is to minimize exploitation of workers. Management wants efficient, productive, hardworking, sincere and law abiding workmen, which can be attracted by providing liberal welfare measures. Such measures also improve industrial relations in the industry.
From various studies, the summarized objectives are to:
(a) Provides social comfort to employees.
(b) Support overall improvement of employees.
(c) Provide financial support indirectly to the employees.
(d) Contribute in developing sense of responsibility and belongingness among employees.
(e) Improve working conditions at the workplace for employees.
(f) Maintain and retain the existing workforce.
(g) Reduce rate of absenteeism from work and labour turnover from job.
(h) Improve lives of employees comfortable and happy.
(i) Improve productivity and efficiency of employees at workplace.
(j) Provide healthy and proper working conditions.
(k) Ensure betterment of employees and families and society as a whole.
Labour Welfare – Prominent Features of Labour Welfare: Addition to Wages and Salaries, Functions, Dynamic, Flexible, Voluntary and/or mandatory and Purpose
The prominent features of labour welfare are as follows:
2. Functions – Labour welfare programme includes various services, facilities and amenities provided to workers for improving their health, efficiency, economic betterment and to enhance social status of the employees.
3. Dynamic – Labour welfare is dynamic in nature. It varies from country to country, region to region and organisation to organisation. Labour welfare activities depend upon the need of the workers, their social status, and social class and so on.
4. Flexible – Labour welfare is a flexible and ever changing concept as new welfare measures are added from time to time to the existing measures. The needs of work force changes with time and the changing social environment.
5. Voluntary and/or mandatory – Some labour welfare measures are provided by laws and mandatory, while some are voluntarily provided by the organisation for betterment of the employees. Welfare measures may be introduced by the employers, government, employees or by any social or charitable agency.
Labour Welfare – Top 5 Principles: Principle of Integration, Principle of Association, Principle of Responsibility, Principle of Accountability and Principle of Timeliness
Labour welfare has emerged as a professional discipline.
Just like any other applied profession, it has specific aims and objectives based upon certain principles:
(a) Principle of Integration or Coordination – Welfare programmes cannot be segregated. They cannot be taken up part-by-part. It is a whole programme. For example, health and welfare should cover up all the aspects of health and hygiene, physical, social and moral hygiene.
(b) Principle of Association – Any welfare programme meant for the development of workers’ community should associate workers with the planning and execution of the programme. Workers should be associated for conducting activities.
(c) Principle of Responsibility – Workers should be incorporated and they should be hold responsible for the activities aiming at workers’ welfare. For example, workers participate in safety committees, sports committees, canteen committees, etc.
(d) Principle of Accountability – Every programme, every person and every activity should be answerable. Welfare programme are socially audited and evaluated. Successful programme are retained Weaker programme are straightened.
(e) Principle of Timeliness – Timely help is a valuable help. A stick in time saves nine. When a worker needs economic assistance for trading a sick child or for building a house, there should be reasonable lapse of time but beyond a limit he can’t wait. Appropriate action begins taken for welfare might serve the purpose. In certain circumstances of emergency, delay in assistance means denial of human value and justice.
Labour Welfare – Importance: Improvement of Industrial Relations, Creation of Permanent Labour Force, Increase in General Efficiency and Income of Workers & a Few Others
Labour Welfare are all meant for increasing labour productivity through all-round development of labour. By improving industrial relations, labour welfare measures contribute immensely towards creating an environment in which management with the full co-operation of workers can execute the plans and programmes of the organisation for realisation of its ultimate goals.
The importance of labour welfare are as follows:
Importance # 1. Improvement of Industrial Relations:
Labour Welfare measures are so comprehensive that they satisfy workers, if properly implemented. This satisfaction on the part of workers is a great stimulus for the industrial relations to improve. When workers are convinced that adequate measures have been taken to improve their work environment and their conditions of service, then they naturally repose confidence in the management and thus it helps maintenance of industrial peace.
Importance # 2. Creation of Permanent Labour Force:
Well- adopted labour welfare measures restrict labour mobility. Workers generally feel reluctant to leave an organisation where their welfare is sincerely looked after. This attitude that welfare measures create helps the creation of permanent labour force which is important for an organisation to pursue plans and programmes on a continuous basis.
Importance # 3. Increase in General Efficiency and Income of Workers:
The comprehensive welfare measures assuring workers good accommodation, proper health-care, suitable work environment make the workers contented. Their contentment is a great inducement for them to work more. They become more efficient as they are not worried about their primary needs. Since their productivity increases, they earn more; their income increases.
Importance # 4. Enhancement of the Morale of Workers:
Labour welfare measures act as a booster to the morale of the workers. Workers with better amenities of life shun many of their vices and offer willing co-operation to management. This is a great benefit for the organisation.
Importance # 5. Development of the Sense of Belonging:
Labour Welfare measures make the workers feel that they are one with the organisation. Management thinks so much for them, does so much for their welfare that they cannot isolate themselves from the organisation – they feel oneness with the organisation. This feeling that they have some stake in the organisation will help restore industrial peace. It will enhance their devotion to the job and thus the enterprise, as a whole, will be benefitted.
Importance # 6. Change in Outlook of Employers:
The change in the dealings of the workers consequent upon the introduction of labour welfare measures make the employers satisfied with them. Thus, there is a change in the outlook of the employers towards labour; a cordial relation is set up and the work environment improves considerably. When the employers find the workers willing to work and devote themselves to the development of the organisation, they do not even hesitate to allow them to participate in management.
Importance # 7. Improvement of the Moral and Mental Health of Workers:
Welfare measures include such measures as would prevent the workers from indulging in vices such as drinking, gambling etc. and thus their moral and mental health improves contributing overall improvement in the health of the organisation and society.
Importance # 8. Benefit to the Society:
Besides providing economic benefits to workers, labour welfare measures extend to workers various facilities that have direct bearing on their better mode of living. Because of medical benefits extended to them, the workers enjoy better health and infant mortality among the workers declines.
The workers feel happier and the society as a whole is benefitted with people having better standards of living and better equipped with more purchasing power to contribute to the general welfare of the country in general and the society in particular.
Labour Welfare – Qualifications and Functions of Labour Welfare Officer
A welfare officer to be appointed should possess- (i) a university degree; (ii) degree or diploma in social sciences, social work or social welfare from any recognised institution; and (iii) adequate knowledge of the language spoken by the majority of the workers in the area where the factories, mines and plantations are situated.
The National Commission on Labour has stated that, “laws were made to ensure that the managements appointed a person exclusively to look after the welfare of their workers and help them in discharging their statutory obligations in respect of welfare measures. Welfare Officers should form part of the administration in order to discharge their responsibilities effectively. Therefore, the eligibility of a Welfare Officer must be ensured before his appointment. The Welfare Officer should not be called upon to handle labour dispute on behalf of the management.”
The Committee on Labour Welfare, after going through the views expressed by the State Governments, public sector undertakings, private employers’ organisations, workers’ organisations and eminent persons in the field of relations and on the role and status of welfare officer, recommended that-
“The management should designate one of the existing officers to their personnel department as welfare officer to fulfill the purpose of the law. The management should ensure that only such officers of the personnel department are designated to look after the welfare activities as are properly qualified to hold these posts and have aptitude for welfare work.”
In actual practice, the welfare officer has been entrusted with the following functions:
(a) Supervision of:
(i) Safety, health and welfare programmes; housing, recreation, and sanitation services;
(ii) Looking after the working of the joint committee;
(iii) Grant of leave with wages; and
(iv) Redressal of workers’ grievances.
(b) Counselling Workers on:
(i) Personal and family problems;
(ii) Adjusting to work environment; and
(iii) Understanding rights and privileges.
(c) Advising the Management on Matters of:
(i) Formulating welfare policies;
(ii) Apprenticeship training programmes;
(iii) Meeting statutory obligations to workers;
(iv) Developing fringe benefits; and
(v) Workers’ education and use of communication media.
(d) Establishing Liaison with Workers to:
(i) Understand the various limitations under which they work;
(ii) Appreciate the need of harmonious industrial relations in the plant;
(iii) Interpret company policies to workers; and
(iv) Persuade workers to come to a settlement in the event of a dispute.
(e) Establishing Liaison with the Management to:
(i) Appreciate the workers’ viewpoint on various matters;
(ii) Intervene on behalf of the workers in matters under the consideration of the management;
(iii) Help different department heads to meet their obligations;
(iv) Maintain harmonious industrial relations in the plant; and
(v) Suggest measures for the promotion of the general well-being of workers.
(f) Working with the Management and Workers to:
(i) Maintain harmonious industrial relations in the plant;
(ii) Arrange a prompt redressal of grievances and speedy settlement; and
(iii) Improve the productivity and productive efficiency of the enterprise.
(g) Working with the Public to:
(i) Secure a proper enforcement of the various provisions of the Acts as applicable to the plant by establishing contact with factory inspectors, medical officers and other inspectors;
(ii) To help workers to make use of community services.
It is obvious that the duties and functions entrusted to a Welfare Officer range from assisting the management in policy formulation and implementation to supervising welfare programme, establishing contacts with workers and the public, solving workers’ problems and grievances.
The National Commission on Labour has stated, “the care of workers in all matters affecting their well-being, both at the place of work and outside, puts a special responsibility on the welfare officer. He should be a ‘maintenance engineer on human side.’ In many cases, he also handles grievances and complaints of workers relating to terms and conditions of service and domestic and other matters which lie in the domain of personnel management. There is, thus, virtually, no demarcation between personnel management functions and welfare functions.”
The Commission recommended that “in order to reduce the hierarchical hiatus in the status of these two officers, there should be an interchange to encourage professional functional mobility and to eliminate the functional monopoly as well the hierarchical status problems.”
A Welfare Officer in India is a “multi-purpose personnel officer.” He is a mainly concerned with welfare of the staff with a role of staff adviser or specialist. He is expected to act as an adviser counsellor, mediator and a liaison-man between the management and labour, i.e., to act as a “maintenance engineer on the human side.”
The Central Model Rules, 1957, define the duties of welfare officers so widely (Rule 7) as to comprise:
(1) Helping maintain harmonious relation between factory management and workers.
(2) Redressal of workers’ grievances.
(3) Providing feedback to management regarding labours’ point of view “to shape and formulate labour policies and to interpret these policies to the workers.”
(4) To watch industrial relations and settle disputes by “persuasive efforts.”
(5) To advise management on the implementation of health and safety programmes.
(6) To promote productive efficiency.
(7) Amelioration of the working conditions and helping workers to adjust and adapt themselves to the working environment, and
(8) Personnel counselling — advising workers on individual personal problems, etc.
It will, thus, be observed that practically the whole gamut of personnel management, except disciplinary action, recruitment, and promotion seem to be comprised in this formulation.
Based on these Central Model Rules we give below the duties authority and responsibilities of Labour Welfare Officer in India.
In the United Kingdom, these duties are performed by personnel officers. It may, therefore, be said that the government has unconsciously attempted to develop the institution of personnel management through the appointment of welfare
officers in industries.
However, in the USA and the UK, the personnel manager is an integral part of the top level management and is on a par with the manufacturing and marketing managers. He is clearly defined “staff’ and not “line” function. He is in touch with all personnel, enjoys the trust, confidence and respect of all ranks, a position which enables him to advise both management and labour.
In that sense the personnel manager is the most powerful bridge connecting the management with labour. He is the central figure in any productivity programme. Contrary to this, the personnel function in India has not made rapid advances. This may be attributed to the impediments in its way.
Labour Welfare Services: 3 Basic Categories: Economic Services, Recreational Services and Facilitative Services
Broadly labour welfare services can be classified into two categories:
(i) Within the Organization Services (Intra-mural). The services provided within the organization include medical aid, recreational facilities, libraries, canteens, rest rooms, washing and bathing facilities, etc.
(ii) Outside the Organization Services (Extra-mural). Outside the organization, welfare arrangements include housing accommodation, transport, children’s education, sports fields, holiday homes, leave travel facilities, interest free loans, etc.
The welfare facilities may further be classified into three basic categories:
Category # 1. Economic Services:
Economic services provide for some additional economic security over and above wages or salaries. Examples of economic services are pension, life insurance, credit facilities etc. Proper pension programme reduces dissatisfaction in the area of economic security. Some establishments have a scheme of family pension also, which provides for payment of pension to the family members of the employee in case of his death.
The employer may also pay the premium on the life insurance policies of the employees. The employers can give loans to the employees for purchase of consumer goods, or at the time of any marriage or other functions in the family of the employees. The loans to be repaid by the employees is in the form of monthly instalments to be deducted from their salaries. Some organizations help the employees to start cooperative credit societies to meet the urgent financial needs of employees.
Category # 2. Recreational Services:
Management may provide recreational facilities to the employees. Recreation in the form of music, sports, games, art and theatre can play a very important role in the physical and mental development of employees. The employees generally get bored by the routine and monotonous jobs which they perform every day. Their attitude improves when the routine is broken occasionally.
This will improve the cooperation and understanding among the employees. Management can provide reading rooms, libraries, TV’s, etc., for the recreation of employees. There can be provision for indoor games like Table Tennis, Carrom, etc. Big organizations can also make arrangements for outdoor games and can induce the workers to prepare teams to play matches with other similar teams.
Category # 3. Facilitative Services:
These are facilities which are generally required by employees and provided by employers:
(i) Housing Facilities:
Housing is an important part of employee welfare in India. Some organizations construct houses/fiats for the employees and provide the same to them either free of cost or at nominal rents. Some organizations give house rent allowances to the employees, so that they can get houses on rental basis. Some organizations provide loans to the employees at concessional rates to enable them to construct their own houses/flats.
(ii) Medical Facilities:
Health is a very important for employees. Within the factory premises, the employees must make provision for first aid facilities. In addition, medical schemes are generally in operation, which provide for the reimbursement of actual medical expenditure incurred by the employees. The organizations may also prescribe some doctors from whom the employees may get services in case of need. Large organizations can have their own dispensaries or hospitals for providing medical facilities to the employees.
The National Commission on Labour and the committee on labour welfare has recommended that facilities should be provided for educating the worker and in running schools for children of the workers. Instead of starting a school, the organization may give education allowance for the children to the employees or reimburse the educational expenditure of the children of the employees.
Some organization provide transport facilities to employees. With the growth of industries, the distance between work place and residence of workers has increased considerably. This facility has, therefore, become very important, as it will help in reducing strain and absenteeism. The committee on labour welfare recommended the provision of adequate transport facilities to workers to enable them to reach their work place without loss of much time and without fatigue.
Sometimes, if the employers do not provide transport facilities, they give conveyance allowance to the employees. Some employers also give interest free or concessional loans to employees for the purchase of vehicles.
(v) Consumer Cooperative Stores:
The National Cooperative Development Board set up a committee in 1961. The committee suggested that employers should introduce consumer cooperative stores in their labour welfare programmes.
The Indian Labour Conference in 1963 adopted schemes for setting up consumer cooperative stores in all industrial establishments including plantations and mines employing 300 or more workers. The Industrial Truce Resolution, 1962 aimed at keeping prices of essential commodities through cooperative stores and fair price shops for workers.
Labour Welfare – 7 Theories Constituting Labour Welfare Activities: Policing Theory, Religious Theory, Philanthropic Theory, Trusteeship Theory and a Few Other Theories
The form of labour welfare activities is flexible, elastic and differs from time to time, region to region, industry to industry and country to country depending upon the value system, level of education, social customs, degree of industrialization and general standard of the socio-economic development of the nation.
Seven theories constituting the conceptual frame work of labour welfare activities are the following:
The policing theory is based on assumption that Human Being is so much selfish and always tries for own benefits whether on the cost of others welfare. Any of the employers will not work for the welfare of employees until he is forced to do so. This theory is based on the contention that a minimum standard of welfare is necessary for workers.
The assumption on which the theory is based is the without compulsion, supervision and fear of punishment, no employer will provide even the barest minimum of welfare facilities for workers this theory is based on the assumption that man is selfish and self-centered, and always tries to achieve his own ends, even at the cost of the welfare of others. This is based on the contention that a minimum standard of welfare is necessary for labourers. Here the assumption is that without policing, that is, without compulsion, employers do not provide even the minimum facilities for workers.
According to this theory, owners and managers of industrial undertakings get many opportunities for exploitation of labour. Hence, the state has to intervene to provide minimum standard of welfare to the working class.
This is based on the concept that man is essentially “a religious animal.” Even today, many acts of man are related to religious sentiments and beliefs. These religious feelings sometimes prompt an employer to take up welfare activities in the expectation of future emancipation either in this life or after it. The theory views were an essentially religious. Religious feelings are what sometimes prompt employers to take up welfare activities in the belief of benefits either in his life or in support after life.
Any good work is considered an investment, because both the benefactor and the beneficiary are benefited by the good work done by the benefactor. This theory does not take into consideration that the workers are not beneficiaries but rightful claimants to a part of the gains derived by their labour.
Philanthropy is the inclination to do or practice of doing well to ones fellow men. Man is basically self- centered and acts of these kinds stem from personal motivation, when some employers take compassion on their fellowmen, they may undertake labor welfare measures for their workers.
This theory is based on man’s love for mankind. Philanthropy means “Loving mankind.” Man is believed to have an instinctive urge by which he strives to remove the suffering of others and promote their well-being. In fact, the labour welfare movement began in the early years of the industrial revolution with the support of philanthropists.
In this theory it is held that the industrialists or employers hold the total industrial estate, properties and profits accruing form them in trust for the workmen, for him, and for society. It assumes that the workmen are like minors and are not able to look after their own interests that they are ignorant because of lack of education. Employers therefore have the moral responsibility to look after the interests of their wards, who are the workers.
In other words, the employer should hold the industrial assets for himself, for the benefit of his workers, and also for society. The main emphasis of this theory is that employers should provide funds on an ongoing basis for the well-being of their employees.
As labour groups are becoming better organized and are becoming demanding and militant, being more conscious of their rights and privileges that even before, their demand for higher wages and better standards increases. The placing theory advocates timely and periodical acts of labour welfare to appease the workers.
This theory is based on the fact that the labour groups are becoming demanding and militant and are more conscious of their rights and privileges than ever before. Their demand for higher wages and better standards of living cannot be ignored. According to this theory, timely and periodical acts of labour welfare can appease the workers. They are some kind of pacifiers which come with a friendly gesture.
This theory provides the basis for an atmosphere of goodwill between labour and management, and also between management and the public, labour welfare programmes under this theory, work as a sort of an advertisement and help an organization to project its good image and build up and promote good and healthy public relations.
The labour welfare movements may be utilized to improve relations between management and labour. An advertisement or an exhibition of a labour welfare programme may help the management projects a good image of the company.
The concept behind this theory is that a happy and healthy person is a better, more productive worker. Here, welfare is used as a means to secure, preserve and develop the efficiency and productivity of labour. The approach to any solutions, especially as that as between the workers and the management should be dialogue and an understanding of one another’s viewpoint. Once agreement has been reached, compliance by both parties can be assured to a very great extent. This also called the efficiency theory.
This theory is a reflection of contemporary support for labour welfare. It can work well if both the parties have an identical aim in view; that is, higher production through better welfare. This will encourage labour’s participation in welfare programmes.
Employee Welfare Funds
Labour welfare refers to all the facilities provided to labour in order to improve their working conditions, provide social security and raise their standard of living. Majority of labour force in India is working in unorganized sector. In order to provide social security to such workers, Government has introduced Labour Welfare Fund to ensure assistance to unorganized labours.
Five different welfare funds, which are governed by different legislations, are administered by Ministry of Labour. The purpose of these welfare funds is to provide housing, medical care, educational and recreational facilities to workers employed in beedi industry and non-coal mines and cine workers.
Schemes under welfare funds provide assistance with respective to the following:
1. Public health and sanitation
3. Recreational (including standard of living)
4. Social security
5. Educational facilities
6. Water supply
8. Medical facilities (prevention of diseases)
9. Social security-
i. Group Insurance Schemes for Beedi and Cine workers
ii. Social Security under Mine Workers Welfare Fund
10. Family welfare
The welfare funds are raised by government by imposing cess on manufactured beedis, feature films, export of mica, consumption of limestone and dolomite and consumption and export of iron ore, manganese ore and chrome ore.
Labour Welfare – Position in India
The miserable conditions of labour are responsible for their low efficiency. The Indian workers are proverbially inefficient compared to their counterparts in the industrially developed countries. The lack of proper efficiency of labour in India is mainly due to the absence of welfare measures as are obtainable in the advanced countries.
The conditions of Indian workers were utterly deplorable. Since independence, an awakening about the welfare of workers is being noticed. The reasons are not far to seek. Ours is a developing country; rapid industrialisation of the country is of paramount importance.
It has been recognised on all fronts to give due consideration to labour as a factor of production to increase industrial productivity. Workers themselves are now more united. So, an atmosphere and environment is now prevalent in India which is conducive to providing various facilities to workers.
It is now an admitted fact that unless workers are given due attention and provided with all amenities, the country is sure to pay a high price for it – the pace of industrialisation has to suffer a set-back. So, the need for labour welfare is now accepted and measures are adopted by different agencies such as Governments, employers, trade unions to better off the lot of the workers through various physical amenities and legislative measures.
We discuss them below:
1. Central Government:
Ours is a welfare state wedded to the policy of doing welfare to the people of the country. For the economic rejuvenation of the country, the toiling masses must be taken care of, their lots must be improved. In this regard, the Government has an active role to play.
The Government has to come forward to bring about intellectual, physical, moral and economic betterment of the workers, so that their whole-hearted and willing co-operation may be readily available for the economic upliftment of the country. In our plan objectives, workers have been accepted as an essential part of the apparatus of industrial and economic administration of the country.
The Central Government has paid its attention to improve the conditions of workers. Various enactments have been promulgated to safeguard the interests of workers, to extend to them economic benefits and social security. The Factories Act, for example, is a bold attempt to extend various facilities to factory workers – their housing facilities, economic benefits, social securities and physical safety etc.
The Mines Act is another piece of legislation that aims at providing welfare to mine workers. So far as mines are concerned, Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund has been instituted to boost the morale of coal mine workers under the Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act. Similarly, Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund and Iron Ore Mines Labour Welfare Fund have been created by specific Acts of the Central Government. Again, we find Plantation Labour Act for the welfare of plantation workers.
Besides the various Acts passed for the welfare of labour in mines, plantations and factories, the Central Government has kept its Labour Ministry alive to the conditions of workers. Measures have now been adopted to provide medical aid, legal and financial aid to workers under various schemes.
To ensure industrial safety, various precautionary measures have also been enforced. Prevention of the possibility of accidents has been one of the objectives of the Government’s welfare measures and actually the incidence of accident has come down. The Government of India has introduced an industrial housing scheme for the accommodation of industrial workers. Social Security legislations such as The Workmen’s Compensation Act, Maternity Benefit Act and The Employees’ State Insurance Act have been in force.
2. State Governments:
The State Governments in India were more or less indifferent to labour welfare prior to independence. But now various State Governments are very alive to the conditions of labour and are up and doing for the upliftment of the lots of the workers. There are popular governments in some states where workers are adequately taken care of.
Labour fronts of different political parties are now sufficiently strong to press the demands of workers to the Government and the link between the State Governments and the labour wings of political parties is so close that various facilities are now being made available to the workers through the State Government’s machinery.
Employers in India today have started realising that they should identify their interest with those of the employees. No prudent management can now ignore the interests of their workers and expect to reap the benefits of higher labour productivity. So, for their own interest, employers are being compelled to adopt welfare measures for the workers.
There are only a few employers in India who have been sympathetic to labour welfare but others are extending various benefits to workers only under compulsion. Several industries such as cotton, jute, textile, engineering, sugar, cement, glass, chemical etc., have been brought under legislative measures to give facilities to the workers.
Without specifying the facilities provided by different industries either under legal compulsion or under union pressure, we can say that employers in India with their professional training background are becoming more and more conscious about the workers whom they now consider the most essential tool to gear up their organisational activities.
Employers who are still maintaining a negative attitude or an indifferent attitude towards workers are surely to pay for their foolishness. Days have changed. All over the world is the slogan for workers to unite. Moreover, employers who fail to understand the potentialities of the labour force, the fullest utilisation of which can bring miraculous results for the organisation, are sure to suffer.
4. Trade Unions:
Last but not the least important agent for the welfare of workers is the ‘Workers’ union. Conflicts between labour and capital existed since industrialisation, they still exist and will continue to exist. The complete harmony and amity between the two opposite-interest groups cannot be achieved.
Not only in India but nowhere in the world has industrial peace been ensured? Here is the role for the Trade Union to play in the matter of bargaining. Various facilities of different nature – economic, social, and cultural – are made available to workers by Trade Unions.
The Indian Trade Unions have not yet been able to do much to ameliorate the lot of their members. Their participation in this sphere has been mainly through their association with the Labour Welfare Advisory Committees constituted by the Governments. It is worthwhile to mention that trade unions in the textile industry (Textile Labour Association) and the Mazdoor Sabha have made provisions for various welfare facilities to the workers.
Educational and cultural upliftments through trade unions have been made possible. With the change in the attitude of the employers (many of whom are governments themselves), the nature of trade unions in India – from militancy to conciliatory – is now noticeable. Various welfare services are now made available to the workers through Trade Unions after the trade union leaders’ direct discussions and deliberations with the employers across the table.
However, trade unions should take some measures for the welfare of workers. They should come forward to assist the employers and the Government in formulation and administration of welfare schemes. To find out the needs of the workers and to bring them to the notice of the employers should also come under the purview of trade union activities.
A modern Trade Union has to educate its members, organise for them various inexpensive programmes and to act as a watch-dog of workers’ interests. Trade Unions have, as a matter of fact, a great role to play for the welfare of the workers.
Labour and their welfare are very legitimate concerns for any Government of any country whether developed, undeveloped, underdeveloped or developing. No economic development of a country or the maintenance of the status quo of the economic development of any country can be conceived of without thinking about the workers of the country.
In India, the colonial economy had prevailed for about two centuries. With the attainment of Independence, the planned economy has been started, one of the objectives of which is the rapid industrialisation of the country. The National Government could not remain a passive onlooker of what had been happening in the industrial world.
The human resource in industrial organisations received attention of the Government. The National Commission on Labour (1969) was formed and its recommendations were based on the findings of the committee on labour welfare. The Committee felt that the statutory welfare activities had not been properly and adequately provided, except in units managed by progressive employers.
The compliance with statutory welfare provisions had also been half-hearted and inadequate. The Committee made a large number of recommendations which included, amongst others, the provision for crèches, canteens, periodical medical examination, creation of the General Mines’ Welfare Fund, extension of the coverage of Plantations Labour Act, extension of welfare benefits to contract labour, opening of more fair price shops for workers, setting up of consumers’ cooperative societies, statutory and tripartite welfare boards etc.
The provisions in the various legislations for the welfare of the workers should be translated into action with all sincerity. The provisions in the Factories Act, for instance, must be scrupulously implemented. A National Museum of Industrial Health, Safety and Welfare is of great significance. A larger number of labour welfare centres should be set up.
The Welfare Officers should have direct link with workers. Arrangements should be made to collect information on occupational diseases and steps should be taken to keep the workers free from these diseases or cure the diseases without delay. More Welfare Funds should also be set up and, finally, trade unions should play a role truly in the interest of the workers. By depriving labour of their legitimate rights and their rights to live like human beings, no state can aspire to be a Welfare State.