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India: Employee rights

Original author: Kochhar & Co
Updating author: Trilegal
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  • In factories, employees' normal working hours must not generally exceed nine hours a day and 48 hours a week. State-specific legislation sets similar limits for shops and commercial establishments. Matters such as overtime work and night work are subject to various rules and restrictions. (See Hours of work)

  • Employees in factories and shops and commercial establishments are generally entitled to daily rest breaks - usually after five hours' work - and a weekly rest day. (See Rest breaks and rest periods)

  • Employees are entitled to paid annual leave, with the statutory entitlement generally varying from 12 to 21 days, depending on the state and the type of establishment. (See Annual leave)
  • Employees are entitled to a paid day off on three national public holidays per year, and generally on certain state-specific "festival holidays". (See Public holidays)
  • Female employees are generally entitled to paid leave if they adopt a child or use a surrogacy arrangement, or suffer a miscarriage, medical termination or illness arising from pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage or termination. (See Maternity and pregnancy rights)
  • Employees have no statutory entitlement to parental leave (other than maternity leave), paternity leave or leave to care for sick family members, although in some cases they are entitled to "casual leave" for personal reasons. (See Other leave)
  • Employment legislation generally applies to part-time employees in the same way as it does to full-time employees. (See Part-time workers)
  • Fixed-term contracts may be used for work requirements of a time-limited nature, and their duration must be reasonable. Employment legislation generally applies to employees on fixed-term contracts in the same way as it does to employees on open-ended contracts, with some exceptions. (See Fixed-term workers)
  • Special legislation governs the use of "contract labour", whereby a contractor employs "workmen" to carry out work in (or in connection with) the establishment of a principal employer, under a contract between the contractor and the principal employer. (See Contract labour)
  • At present, there is no specific legislation regulating remote working. (See Remote workers)
  • Special legislation dealing with matters such as wages applies to "inter-state migrant workmen" - that is, workers recruited by or through a contractor in one state of India for employment at the establishment of a principal employer in another state. (See Inter-state migrant workers)
  • In business transfers, employees' entitlements and the obligations of the transferor and transferee depend on the status of the employees, with those classified as workmen receiving special protection. (See Transfers of undertakings)
  • In the event of an employer's insolvency, the pay-related claims of employees classified as workmen receive preferential treatment over most other creditors, up to a limit. (See Insolvency of employer)
  • An employer that intends to close down an undertaking employing more than a certain number of employees classified as workmen must notify the public labour authorities, and in some cases obtain their permission, and provide notice and compensation to the workmen concerned. (See Closure of undertakings)
  • In certain establishments, the employer must set up a "grievance redressal committee" to resolve disputes arising out of workmen's individual grievances. (See Grievance and disciplinary procedures)
  • Employers must follow certain disciplinary procedures. (See Disciplinary and grievance procedures)
  • Employers are required to have in place a set of binding "standing orders" in certain establishments, dealing with specified employment conditions for employees classified as workmen. (See Standing orders)
  • Legislation on the protection of personal information applies in the employment context. (See Data and privacy protection)