Chandigarh: The Haryana government’s new legislation, which provides Haryanvis 75 per cent reservation in private sector jobs, gives labour officers unbridled powers to implement the Act. It also goes to the extent of asking employers to train unskilled local residents in case they are unemployable.
The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020, was notified Tuesday and had been passed by the assembly in November. The governor had sought some clarifications regarding the provisions of the bill before giving his assent.
Under the Act, notified “administrative officers” will have the power to enter the premises of any private enterprise, check their records, look for anomalies and impose penalties.
An employer will have to submit quarterly reports of employment of local candidates, cooperate with these officers and cannot move any court against them since they are supposed to have acted in “good faith”.
“No suit or other legal proceedings shall lie in any court against any authorised officer or designated officer or against any person or body of persons acting under the order or direction of such authorised officer and designated officer for anything which is done in good faith, or intended to be done in pursuance of provisions of this Act,” says the Act.
Directors of companies, partners and other management staff are liable for punishment if they do not comply.
The Act is applicable to all categories of employees who earn less than Rs 50,000 per month in any private enterprise that hires more than 10 people. At least 75 per cent of such employees have to have the domicile of Haryana. Private enterprises, however, have been given the option of capping employees from a particular district at 10 per cent.
The state government, though, insists that the provisions will not usher in an “inspector raj”, a reference to massive red tape.
“There will be no harassment to anyone. But there will be some regulatory control to ensure that the aspirations of the skilled youth in Haryana is met,” state Additional Chief Secretary (Labour), V.S. Kundu, told ThePrint. “Officers at various levels will be prescribed on the basis of the size of the industry.”
On why officers have been given immunity from legal processes, he said, “Officers act on behalf of the government and their bonafide actions have to be protected. However, if something drastically wrong is done, then action can be initiated against them.”
The quota for locals
The notification of the Act, accessed by ThePrint, says that every private employer in Haryana who has more than 10 people on salary or wages will have to first register on a portal within the next three months.
The employer will then have to submit quarterly reports of local candidates employed.
Employers can seek exemption in case they are able to prove to the government that they have not been able to find skilled labour in the state for that particular enterprise.
A “designated officer” of the labour department will then take the call on such a request. The designated officer, however, can ask the employer to train local people to make them employable in the company.
While the “designated officer” will be not below the rank of a deputy commissioner, there would be lower-rung officers notified as “authorised officers”, who will not be below the rank of a sub-divisional officer.
The authorised officer is empowered to check any enterprise, call for their records and documents in order to ensure compliance. The employer has to cooperate with the authorised officer and any obstruction will be an offence under the Act.
The penalties for various violations under the Act range from lump sum payments to daily penalties charged as long as the violation continues. The lump sum payment ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 5 lakh and the daily penalty ranges from Rs 100 per day to Rs 1,000 a day.