labour law
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This article is written by Asgar Ali, pursuing a Diploma in Industrial and Labour Laws from LawSikho.com. Here he discusses “Labour Laws Applicable on Television Industry”.

Introduction 

The Television Industry is equally important likewise all other industries who produce goods, services and strengthen our economy. Television in India is considered as important as the other basic facilities. The Television Industry gives a stable rise to Indian economy due to its place in Indian’s home as a part of entertainment, Learning, Timepass activities, gaming, cultural development through running the various cultural and religious channel, up to date about worldly matters through news and very important by various educational programs.

According to reports of FICCI, our television industry has grown-up up to Rupees Seven Hundred and forty Billion ( Rs 740 Billion) in the year 2018 which has been registered as a growth of 12 % in Indian Marketplace. In the year 2018 itself, TV viewing households have been recorded as 197 million which is a percentage increase of 8 over the year 2017. The major contributory part is Film channels as well as entertainment contents.

Legislations related to Labour engaged in Television Industry  

Usually, all labour-related legislation are applicable to those who are working in the Television Industry or media sector. 

But there are some key labour legislation that regulates the conditions of employment in this sector are detailed as  follows:

The Working Journalist and other Newspapers Employees (Condition of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 and  The Working Journalists (Condition of Services) and Miscellaneous Provision Rules, 1957

The Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Condition of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 provide for the regulation of clear service conditions for working journalists and other persons those are employed in any newspaper agency or an establishment. This Act makes provisions of fixing and revising rates of salary/wages regarding journalists working in any establishment and as per this act also, the central Government shall be constituting a Wage Board as required on time to time.

The Central Government has set up a monitoring committee at a central level under the Ministry of Labour affair in order to supervise the compliances of recommendations put forward by that wage board.

Subsequent to receipt of advice of wage Board, the Central Government is required to publish an order in terms of approval and such order shall be applicable on all those newspaper establishments for whom that wage board has been recommended.

All ALCs (Assistant Labour Commissioners) of the Labour Department, in their respective districts, have been appointed as “Inspectors” for execution enforcement under this Act

Here, The Deputy Labour Commissioner has been approved for the recovery of the amount which is due to newspaper employees ( if any) under the provisions laid down as per this Act. 

Thought such amount can also be recovered by issuing a certificate of the amount to the Concerned collector and for recovery of such amount as arrears of land revenue. 

The penalty recommended for contravention of such provisions under this Act or any rule made thereunder shall be punishable with a fine of rupees two hundred (Rs. 200/-) which may extend to rupees five hundred (Rs. 500/- ) for repeated violation.

A Working Journalist

A working journalist is that person whose major avocation is as a journalist and who is employed either as a whole time journalist in one or more newspaper enterprises and which includes an editor, a news editor, a writer, any sub-editor, Leader or feature writer, a correspondent, a reporter, a copy tester, a cartoonist, a news photographer or any proofreader but who does not include any such person who is (i) being employed in any managerial or any administrative capacity; or (ii) is being employed in a supervisory capacity who performs either due powers vested in him or by the nature of the duties connected to his place of work or by function of a managerial nature. [Please Refer Section 2(f)]

Newspaper is any written publication work which contains news for public or contains such other categories of written periodical work or printed publication work as it can be, from time to time, can be informed or notified by the Central Government by publishing notification in the Official Gazette. (Refer Section 2(b) please)

Newspaper establishment means any such establishment which is under the control of a person or a group of persons whether it is integrated or not, for the creation or publication of newspapers which may be one or more, or for running any news agency or new association and comprises of newspaper establishments as specified under the Schedule.

Details: – For the purpose of the above-mentioned clause: 

  • Some different units, businesses, departments and branches of newspaper establishments shall be treated as part thereof,
  • Any printing press shall also be considered to be a newspaper establishment if the principal business is of printing newspaper. (Refer Section 2(d )

Other key provisions under this Act are as following

The provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act shall be applied to a working journalist with some amendments. The notice period as referred in the Industrial Disputes Act related to retrenchment has been extended up to six months in the case of an editor and up to three months in case of a working journalist. ( Please refer section 3)

The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 has been made applicable to every such newspaper establishment in which there are twenty or more newspaper employees get employed. (Refer Section 14)

Gratuity shall be payable to those working journalists who have completed minimum service of three years. (Refer Section 5)

The Employees’ Provident Fund Act 1952 shall also be applicable to every such newspaper enterprise in which twenty or more than twenty persons are employed on any day of the Calendar year. (Section 15)

Working hours and weekly rest: No working journalist will be allowed to work more than one hundred and forty-four hours (144 Hours ) during any time span of four consecutive weeks, from which the time for meals shall be excluded. In a working day, the total working hours shall not exceed six hours and during the night shift, the working duration shall be Five and Half an hour ( 5½ hours ) only. All working journalist shall be given one day off as weekly rest in a week.

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Above mentioned provisions shall not be applicable to news editors, editors, reporters, correspondents or the news photographers. (Section 6 of the Act and Rule 7 of the Rules)

As per the Act, a working journalist is entitled to get ten holidays (10 holidays) in a year and he is also entitled to “compensatory holiday” within a working period of next 30 days in place of his duty attending on a holiday.

A working journalist is also entitled to get Fifteen days (15 days) casual leave and one month earned leave. The earned leaves can be accumulated only up to 90 days in every year.

 A female working journalist is entitled to get twenty-six weeks’ maternity leave on full wages as per the Maternity Benefit Act, 2017. 

Those people who are working as non-journalists, their leaves and other service conditions in respect of those people shall be regulated as per the provisions laid in the Factories Act, 1948 and applicable state factory rules.

Other Safety  measures for Women labour in the Television Industry 

  1. All women related laws are applicable to the Television Industry likewise as applicable to other industries and establishments.
  2. The acts and rules intended for Women protection are applicable in Television Industry i.e. POSH Act [Sexual Harassment of Women at Work (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal ) Act  2013 ], The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 etc. 
  3. The special provisions in order to  curb depiction of sex and violence in films by the censor board
  4. The songs and trailers of all Indian films for telecasting over National Television Channels (i.e. Doordarshan TV ) are subjected to pre-censorship now.
  5. In the Television Industry, at each Examining Committee platform now it is mandatory that 50% of the total members are women. 
  6. Health and Safety measures as per Factories Act and applicable factories rules for working women in television Industry 
  7. Training, Educational,  Vocational Training and learning programs being run for the benefits of women labour in the television Industry

Maintenance of Register, Records and Muster Rolls 

 In relation to a newspaper establishment, Every employer shall prepare and maintain the following registers:

  • A Register of employees in “Form D”
  • Service registers in respect of all working journalists in “Form E”
  • A Leave register in respect of all working journalist in “Form F”
  • A Muster roll in “form G” 

The Cine-workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981 & the Cine-workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Rules, 1984

The objective of the Cine-workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment ) Act, 1981 is to make certain that all cine- workers are protected from exploitation and misuse. The Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981 make available the regulation of employment conditions of certain cine-workers as well as certain cinema theatre workers and matters related to them.

A ‘Cinema theatre’ stands for a place which is licensed under “Part III of The Cinematograph Act 1952“ and/or under any other law as applicable in a State for the exhibition of a cinematograph film for the time being. 

A cine-worker is a person who is employed, directly or indirectly ( through any contractor, any other person etc ) and that person is engaged  to work as an artist (including performer, actor, singer, vocalist, music player or artiste) in connection with feature film production work or that person to do any other work which may be unskilled, skilled, technical, manual, supervisory, artistic or otherwise and of whose remuneration with respect to such services is by way of monthly wages, which may as per minimum wages act as applicable to that state a and where such remuneration is paid as a lump sum amount. 

A Producer, with regard to a feature film, means such a person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of such film (including the raising of funds/finance and employing cine -workers for the making of such films) are undertaken.

The Act forbid the employment of any cine–worker without any written agreement with the film producer or where if any cine -worker is working through a contractor or any other person, with the film- producer or such contractor or another person through which the cine – worker is working. Such agreement shall be registered with the competent authority as notified under the law by the Film – producer. The Agreement shall be in Form A as mentioned under the Rules. 

Penalties

Whoever contravenes or disobey the provision laid down as per Act and Rules applicable, Shall be punishable with a fine which not less than Rupees Ten Thousand ( Rs.10,000/-) and can be extended up to Rupees Fifty Thousands (Rs.50,000/- ) as the case may be.

Child labour in the Television Industry 

Child labour exploitation in Television Industry has equally been observed likewise other industries and manufacturing establishments especially the “Child Labour”.

There is no secret that in reality shows and Television serials in which children are made to participate, they get work pressure which deprives them of an ordinary childhood and simultaneously burdens them to work more and finish their schooling work at the same time. The children have no concern with publicity but work burden in this age gives a serious impact on young and tender minds. The children are the future of the nation and their childhood must be safeguarded. 

In June 2017, though our Indian government introduced the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017 and ratified ILO’s two conventions held in the year 2017 and some special provisions are added into the Act related to child actors engaged in of audiovisual activities  and entertainments, Reality Shows, big or short films, Television Serials etc. 

Following are some significant compliance which is to be implemented by Media Company / Film producers before taking up child artists into any audiovisual entertainment program:

  1. Prohibition to employ children in any occupation and process: According to Section 3 of this amended Act, children (i.e. a person who has not attained the age of 14 years, shall be prohibited from working in any occupation. Though, in order to align it with societal conditions of our nation, where children can also contribute appreciably to the family source of income by being a part of family businesses, this section exempts those helping their family or family work other than any “hazardous occupation” or processes described in the Schedule, after his schooling hours / during his vacation period, from the purview of this Act.
  2. Working Conditions for children for media entertainment: Section 3 of this Act, also exempts children working as artist (musician, dancer, actor, singer, performer etc) in any audiovisual activity or in such industry which includes television serials, songs, dance performance, advertisement, films, or any such nature of entertainment or any sports activities apart from circus etc from the perspective of the prohibition if the approved safety measures, are complied. 

According to these rules, the producers are to comply following certain conditions:

  1. To obtain permission from District Magistrate and to furnish an undertaking in Form C of these rules to the District Magistrate before the beginning of any such activities in the district.
  2. To submit a list of all child participants, the consent of their parents or guardian as the case may be, the name of every person from the event or production who shall be taking responsibility for the safety and security of these children during the course of work. 
  3. To arrange suitable amenities and educational facilities for children in order to ensure that there is no disconnection from his learning lessons in school,
  4. Not to allow children to work continuously more than twenty-seven days 
  5. To make sure that all screening work of his films as well as television programs shall be made displayed with a disclaimer detailing that in case any child has been involved in the shooting, then all applicable safety measures are taken ensuring that there is no exploitation, no abuse and no neglecting of such children during the whole course of shooting, 
  6. To appoint one accountable person for every five children for the protection, care and hobbies of the children during production, event or shooting
  7. At least 21% of income earned by the child from the shooting, production or event shall be deposited in his account as “fixed deposit” in any nationalized bank on child’s name which can be credited to that child on achieving his majority age
  8. No child shall be made to participate in any such sport activity including any informal entertainment work or any audiovisual which is against his consent, will and approval.

Conclusion 

The Labour related Acts and Rules applicable to Television Industries provide safety and protection from exploitation to “low paid artistes and technicians” and women worker and more important “child labour” who are engaged in the production of feature films in Television Industry regarding to their terms and conditions of employment, their payment of wages and provision of other amenities for them.

The provisions of “The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952 “shall apply to each cinema theatre in which there are five or more than five workers are employed on any day of the preceding twelve months.

The provisions of “ The Payment of Gratuity Act 1972” shall be applicable to every worker who gets employed in a cinema theatre in which there are five or more than five workers are employed or were employed on any day of the preceding twelve months.

In case of arising of any dispute concerning to contravention or breach of the terms conditions of the written agreement, that aggrieved cine -worker can approach the Conciliation Officer for mediation purpose. The Conciliation Officer shall be investigating the disputes and all matters affecting the qualities/merits and shall endeavour right settlement and encourage both parties to come to “ A fair and amicable settlement” in order to resolve the dispute.

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