This article is written by Pruthvi Ramkanta Hegde. This article emphasises the various legislations with regard to labour laws in the state of Kerala. The article further covers the different provisions, objectives, and major definitions of the different labour laws in Kerala. The article further highlighted the legislation for women’s and children’s safety in the workplace and also highlighted the challenges and recommendations for the existing challenges.

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Work is not just about earning. It’s about maintaining the dignity, fairness, and safety of the workers too. In this regard, labour laws play an important role in protecting the interest of both employer and employee. It establishes a fair and balanced approach between employee and employer. The labour laws are like a rule book, it guides how employers and employees work together. The Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which allocates powers between the Union and State legislatures. The Seventh Schedule covers three lists that includes Union List, the State List, and the Concurrent List. 

While the Union List delineates subjects exclusively under the jurisdiction of the Union government, Entry 55 pertains to the regulation of labour and safety in mines and oilfields. The Concurrent List entry number, 22, 23, 24, 25 outlines matters on which both the Parliament and State Legislatures have shared responsibility for making laws. Specifically, these entry numbers include provisions related to trade unions, social security, welfare of labour, and education. This shared responsibility allows for a collaborative approach in crafting legislation that addresses the diverse needs of workers and employers in Kerala. In this regard in Kerala, there are different legislations enacted by the government in order to provide definite rules for this purpose. These rules cover many things like purpose, working hours, minimum wages, eligibility of the employee to work, provisions for women’s safety, equal opportunity and some other aspects. 

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Evolution of labour department in Kerala

After the Second World War, a lot of industries started growing up in Kerala, to address emerging labour issues, well-established departments became more essential. In this regard, Diwan Sir C.P Ramaswamy Iyer took the initiative to establish the labour department in Kerala. Before that, it was part of the industrial department. In response to the growing importance of handling labour-related issues, H.H Maharaj, Sri Chithira Thiruynal Balarama Varma, approved the creation of the position of the Labour Commissioner on January 26, 1946. This marked the beginning of the labour department operating independently from the industrial department.

Different legislations relating to labour laws in Kerala 

In Kerala, various laws govern labour rights and working conditions. These include covering areas such as minimum wages, working hours, safety regulations, and provisions for employee welfare. Additionally, specific legislation addresses issues like trade unions, industrial disputes, social security, and women’s rights in the workplace. The major legislation includes as follows:

Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1960

The Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act (hereinafter referred to as ‘Act’) was enacted by the state of Kerala in 1960. The Act applies to the entire state of Kerala. Initially, the Act is applicable to specific areas, including Trivandrum City, municipalities under the Madras District Municipalities Act 1920, certain areas in the Malabar district, and areas classified by the government under specific Acts. The government can extend the application of this law to other areas by providing three month’s notice through an official announcement in the Gazette.

For detailed analysis of the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act (1960), you can also refer to this link.

Objective of the Act

The Act in its preamble has stated the objective  behind the enactment of this Act. The main purpose is to bring definite rules for governing working conditions and employment in shops and businesses throughout the state of Kerala. The objectives include establishing well-structured legislation in order to simplify existing regulations, also aims to protect worker’s rights and make sure the rules are the same everywhere in the state. The Act also allows for future adjustments if needed. The Act aims to create fair and clear guidelines for the working structure of people who work in shops and businesses throughout the state of Kerala.

Important definitions of Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1960

  • Apprentice – Section 2(1) of the Act, an ‘apprentice’ is a person who has attained at least twelve years old and is employed by an employer to receive training in a specific trade or profession. The training can be provided either by the employer or by someone else involved in the same trade or profession.
  • Child- As per Section 2(2) of the Act, a ‘child’ means a person who has not attained the age of 14 years.
  • Commercial establishment – Section 2(4) of the Act, ‘commercial establishment’ refers to places like businesses involved in commerce, industry, trade, banking or insurance. It also includes office hotels, restaurants, boarding houses, cafes and other places providing refreshments. Further definition covers services such as administrative work and entertainment venues like theatres. The government can declare other place’s commercial establishments through an official announcement. However, it doesn’t include factories covered by the Factories Act of 1948.
  • Day- Section 2(5) of the Act, defines ‘days’ as a duration of twenty four hours starting from midnight. However, if an employee starts working before midnight and their work continues past midnight, their day starts when they begin working, but not at midnight.
  • Employee- Section 2(6) of the Act defines the ‘employee’ as a person who works mainly in connection with a particular establishment, and this includes apprentices.
  • Employer- Section 2(7) of the Act, defines the ‘employer’ as a person who owns or has the ultimate control over the affairs of an establishment. The definition also includes managers, agents, or any other person who is responsible for general management.
  • Shop- As per Section 2(15) of the Act, ‘shop’ refers to any place where a trade or business is conducted, or services are offered to customers. This includes offices, storage rooms, warehouses, or any other places related to the business. However, it does not include commercial establishments and also if a shop is connected to a factory where the shop employees receive benefits under the Factories Act 1948, it is not considered a shop under this Act.
  • Week- Section 2(17) of the Act, ‘week’ is a span of seven days, starting from midnight on Saturday night. In certain areas, the starting night of the week may be approved in writing by the prescribed authority.

Exemptions from Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1960

Section 3 of the Act provides exemptions for certain groups of persons on whom this Act would not be applicable, and also prescribes exceptions with regard to working hours. Section 3(1) of the Act provides that this Act would not be applicable on the following person-  

  • Managers in any establishment.
  • Travelling employees, canvassers, caretakers not on muster rolls.
  • Government, local authorities, Reserve Bank of India, and cantonment authorities.
  • Mines and oil fields establishments.
  • Temporary establishments in bazaars during fairs or festivals, up to 15 days.
  • Non-factory establishments in Kerala covered by a separate law.

Exemptions from requirements under Section 10

Section 3(2) of the Act prescribes the provisions for the specific situations or establishments that are not subject to the regulations mentioned in Section 10 of the Act, that include:

  • Hospitals and institutions for sick, infirm, destitute, or mentally unfit.
  • Chemist’s or druggist’s shops specified by the Government.
  • Clubs, residential hotels, hostels, and establishments in boarding schools related to boarding and lodging of pupils.
  • Stalls and refreshment rooms at railway stations, docks, wharves, or ports.

Power of Government to apply Act and modify notifications

As per Section 4 the government has the power to decide if certain people or businesses should follow the rules mentioned in this law. They can choose to apply some or all of the rules to specific groups of people or businesses, and they can also change or cancel these decisions whenever they want.

Exemptions granted by the Government

As per Section 5 if the government believes it’s necessary for public interest or if there are special circumstances, they can decide that certain businesses or groups of people don’t have to follow all the rules of this law. They can do this either permanently or for a specific time period, but they may still put some conditions or restrictions on these exemptions.

Registration of establishments 

Section 5A of the Act prescribes the different rules for the registration of establishments such as shops or commercial entities.

Registration process- The employer of every establishment is required to submit an application to the authority specified by the Government. It is referred to as competent authority. This application must be made in the prescribed form. The payment of designated fees needs to be paid in order to obtain a registration certificate for the establishment.

Timeline for application- The application must be submitted within sixty days from the date when this Section comes into effect. For establishments commencing operations after the enactment of this Section, the application deadline is within sixty days from the commencement of work.

Application details: The application should include the following particulars:

  • Name of the employer and the manager 
  • Postal address of the establishment
  • Name of the establishment 
  • Category of the establishment 
  • Number and names of employees in the establishment 
  • Any other particular as prescribed by regulations

Process of registration- Upon receiving the application, the competent authority will examine it. If the authorities are satisfied that the application complies with the provisions of this Act and associated rules, the authority will register the establishment and issue a registration certificate in the prescribed form to the employer. This registration certificate would be conclusive evidence of the completion of the registration process. 

Validity and renewal- The registration certificate is valid only for the year in which it is granted, but can be renewed annually. An application for renewal must be submitted at least thirty days before the certificate’s expiration, with the prescribed fees. The certificate remains effective until the renewal is granted, or the application is rejected. 

Compliance and renewal: The competent authority will not grant or renew a registration certificate unless it is convinced that the establishment has complied with the Act’s provisions and related rules.

Suspension or cancellation: After providing the certificate holder with an opportunity to be heard, the competent authority may by order suspend or cancel a registration certificate, if it believes that the certificate was obtained through misrepresentation or fraud or if the employer has violated any provisions of the Act or associated rules.


Section 5B of the Act prescribes that if someone is unhappy with an authority’s decisions that denied their registration certificate, refused its renewal, or suspended it, they can have the option of appeal. The appeal must be made within 60 days of receiving the decision, and a specified fee must be paid. The government will identify the appropriate authority for appeals through a notification in its official Gazette. This designated authority can then review the decision and either confirm, change, or overturn the original decision.

Duty of the employer

Section 5C of the Act, states the duty of the employer with regard to the registration certificates for their establishments. It includes:

  • The employer must display the registration certificate prominently at the establishment. If there are any changes to the information provided during the application for registration, the employer must inform the competent authority and the relevant inspector within seven days. This notification should be accompanied by a prescribed fee.
  • After receiving the notice and fee, the competent authority will review the information. If everything is correct, they will update the registration certificate or issue a new one.
  • If the employer decides to close the establishment, they must notify the competent authority and the inspector within ten days. Once the competent authority verifies the closure, they will remove the establishment from the register and cancel the registration certificate.

Sections 5A, 5B and 5C were inserted in the Amendment Act of 1969.

Hours of work

Chapter II of the Act prescribes the hours of work of the employees, including:

  • Section 6 states that employees in any establishment should not work more than eight hours a day or forty-eight hours a week. However, total work hours including overtime should not exceed ten hours in a day except during stock-taking and account preparation or fifty hours in a quarter.
  • Section 7 states that, if an employee works more than eight hours a day or forty-eight hours a week, they are entitled to twice their ordinary wage rate for overtime. The ordinary rate of wages includes basic wages, allowances, and certain benefits, but excludes bonuses.
  • Section 8 and Section 9 state that, an employee’s daily work period should not exceed four hours without a rest break of at least one hour. The total daily work, including rest breaks, should not exceed ten and a half hours.
  • Section 10 states that establishments must follow the government-specified opening and closing hours. However, customers present at closing time may be served for an additional fifteen minutes. The government may also set opening and closing times for specific establishments or areas.
  • Section 11 states that shops must remain closed one day a week as specified by the shopkeeper and displayed in the shop. Employees are entitled to a whole day off each week. However, this doesn’t apply if the worker has worked for fewer than six days in the week, or if they have already been given a day off when the shop was closed. Wage deductions should not be made for holidays, and employees should be paid as if they worked their usual day if a holiday falls on their scheduled workday.

Holidays and leaves for the employees

Chapter III of the Act prescribes the holidays and leave for the employees. Section 12 of the Act, prescribes the provisions for the application of Chapter III that deals with holidays and leave. Accordingly, this Chapter’s rules won’t override any rights that employees might have under other laws or their employment agreements. However, if those agreements offer more extended leave or additional weekly holidays than what is stated in this chapter, the employee can still avail themselves of those longer periods. It is important to note that, for the purposes of this chapter, leave does not include regular weekly holidays or holidays for festivals or similar events, except as outlined in Section 13. Accordingly, following Sections prescribe the various rules in this regard, that include as following:

Section 13 contains the provision for annual leave with wages. It states that after twelve months of continuous service, every employee is entitled to twelve days of holidays with wages. Additionally, every twelve months employees get:

  • Up to twelve days of leave with wages for sickness or accidents.
  • Up to twelve days of casual leave with wages for reasonable grounds.

If an employee is not granted entitled holidays and is discharged or quits, the employer must pay for those holidays. Further, this Section states that, If an employee is fired while sick or injured, the employer must pay them for the sick leave they were entitled to. Even if there are breaks in employment due to sickness, authorised leave, lockouts, legal strikes, or short periods of unemployment, employees are still considered to have worked continuously for a year. Employees working in certain places, like hostels or boarding schools, get these benefits too, but the number of days off may be different based on how long they have been working.

Section 13A was inserted after the Amendment Act of 1969. The Section states that employees undergoing sterilisation are entitled to special casual leave with wages:

  • Six days for male employees.
  • Fourteen days for female employees.

If an employee is discharged during this leave period, the employer must pay for the entitled special casual leave. However, the leave starts from the day when the employee undergoes such an operation.

Section 12 states that leave, except as mentioned in Section 13, doesn’t include weekly holidays or holidays for festivals. If any other law or agreement provides longer leave or more weekly holidays, those terms will apply.

Section 14 states that during a period of leave as stipulated in section 13 or section 13A, the employee should be paid at a rate equivalent to their average daily earnings from their regular work, excluding any overtime pay and bonuses, but including dearness allowance and any benefits received from the employer such as meals or discounted food and other items, for the days they worked in the month just before taking leave.

Section 15 states that inspectors can take legal action on behalf of employees to recover any unpaid amounts owed by employers under this Chapter.

Section 16 states that, if the government believes that the leave rules of an establishment are at least as favourable as those in this Chapter, it may exempt the establishment from certain or all provisions of this chapter with specified conditions.

Application of wages

Chapter IV of the Act prescribes the provisions related to wages and the application of the Payment of Wages Act, of 1936. Accordingly, Section 17 of the Act, prescribes the provisions about how the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 applies to employees in certain establishments. The government has the authority to decide, through a notification, whether the provisions of this Act should be applied to all employees or specific classes of employees in establishments. If the government decides to apply the provisions of the Payment of Wages Act to a particular establishment, the Inspector will be responsible for enforcing the Payment of Wages Act within that area. 

Rules for the dismissal of an employee

Section 18 of the Act outlines the rules regarding the dismissal of an employee by an employer:

  • An employer cannot dismiss an employee who has been working continuously for at least six months without a valid reason. If dismissal is necessary, the employer must provide one month’s prior notice or pay the employee for that period.
  • If an employee feels unfairly dismissed, they can appeal to a designated authority. The appeal must be made within a specified time. It can be based on the claim that there is no valid reason for dismissal or that the alleged misconduct did not occur.
  • The authority handling the appeal can either reject the appeal or order the reinstatement of the employee with or without back wages. Alternatively, Section 18(4A) is inserted by the Amendment Act of 1979 states that authority may direct the employer to pay compensation without reinstating the employee.
  • If reinstatement is ordered and the employer fails to comply, the authority can specify a compensation amount to be paid by the employer.
  • The decision of the appellate authority is final and binding on both the employer and the employee. Such a decision cannot be challenged in court, and both parties must adhere to the decision within the specified timeframe.
  • If the employer fails to pay the required compensation, it can be recovered as overdue land revenue under the applicable Revenue Recovery Act.

Employment of children and women 

Section 19 and Section 20 of the Act discuss rules related to the employment of children, women, and individuals below seventeen years old. These Sections state that:

  • Section 19 of the Act prohibits the employment of the child. Children are not allowed to work in any workplace, except in specific jobs defined by the government for apprenticeship.
  • Section 20 prohibits the employment of women at night time and individuals below seventeen years. It states that women and individuals below seventeen years old cannot be employed or allowed to work in any establishment before 6 A.M. or after 7 P.M. This aims to protect them from working during the early morning or late evening hours.

Health and safety of the employee

Criminal litigation

Chapter VI of the Act discusses rules related to the health and safety of employees in workplaces. It includes various provisions which state that:

Section 21 of the Act, covers three major aspects that include:

  • Cleanliness- Every workplace must be kept clean and free from unpleasant odours, and regular cleaning, including methods like lime washing, colour washing, painting, and disinfecting should be followed.
  • Ventilation-  Workplaces must have proper ventilation as per defined standards.
  • Lighting- Adequate lighting is required during working hours.

If an Inspector finds that a workplace is not meeting cleanliness, lighting, or ventilation standards, they can issue a written order to the employer, specifying necessary measures and a deadline for compliance.

Precautions against fire

Section 22 of the Act prescribes the provisions for the precautions against fire. It states that workplaces must implement prescribed precautions to prevent fire hazards.


Section 23 of the Act, contains the provisions for the appeals against an Inspector’s order under this Chapter. The appeal must be made to the designated authority within a specified time.

Apportionment of expenses

As per Section 24, if someone, either the owner or occupier of a workplace incurs expenses to meet the requirements of cleanliness, ventilation, or fire precautions, if such person believes that another party should share the expenses, they can apply to the local court. The court can issue an order by determining a fair distribution of expenses by considering all relevant circumstances. It includes any existing contracts between the parties, too. The court may also order for the nullification of any contracts inconsistent with its terms.

Enforcement and inspection

Chapter VII of the Act prescribes the provisions for the enforcement and inspection. It includes: 

  • Appointment of Inspectors- Section 25 of the Act states that the government can appoint officers or individuals, through a Gazette notification, as Inspectors for implementing this Act. These Inspectors will have assigned local limits.
  • Powers and duties of Inspectors- Section 26 of the Act states that Inspectors within their designated areas and subject to government rules can enter any place which they believe is an establishment at reasonable times with suitable assistants if needed. Inspect premises, relevant registers, records, and notices, and gather evidence from individuals as necessary for enforcing this Act. Inspectors need to exercise other powers essential for the enforcement of this Act. However, individuals cannot be compelled to answer questions or provide evidence that may incriminate them under this Section.
  • Inspector as a public servant- Section 27 of the Act states that any Inspector appointed under section 25 is considered a public servant as per Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Submission of required documents- Section 28 of the Act outlines that after an Inspector’s request, every employer must present all registers, records, and notices required under this Act for inspection.

Penalties provisions

Section 29 of the Act prescribes the provisions for the punishments in case of violating the provisions of this Act. Accordingly, it states that:

If anyone breaks the rules of Sections 5A (registration of establishment) and 5C (duties of employer)  of the Act they can be punished in the following ways:

  • A fine of up to two hundred and fifty rupees. If the violation continues after the first conviction, there could be an additional fine of up to ten rupees for each day of the ongoing breach.
  • A fine of up to ten rupees for every day the violation continues after receiving a notice from the competent authority to stop the breach.

Violations of Section 6 (daily and weekly hours), Section 8 (intervals for rest), Section 9 (spread over), Section 10 (opening and closing hours), Section 11 (closing of shops and grant of weekly holidays), Section 13 (annual leave with wages), Section 13A (special casual leave for sterilisation operation), Section 14 (wages during leave period), Section 18 (notice of dismissal), Section 21 (cleanliness, ventilation and lighting), and Section 22 (precaution against fire) will result in fines upon conviction:

  • For a first offence, a fine of up to two hundred and fifty rupees.
  • For a second or subsequent offence, a fine of up to five hundred rupees.

Breaking the rules in Sections 7 (extra wages for overtime work), Section 19 (prohibition of employment of children), Section 20 (prohibition of employment of women and persons below seventeen years during night), Section 28 (employer to produce registers, records etc., for inspection), and Section 30 (maintenance of registers and records and display of notices) can lead to a fine of up to fifty rupees upon conviction. The court cannot consider any offence under this Act or its rules unless:

  • An employee or their union files a complaint within three months of the alleged offence.
  • An Inspector files a complaint within sixty months of learning about the offence.

Only a Magistrate of Second Class or above can hear cases related to offences under this Act or its rules.

Maintenance of registers, records, and display of notices

Section 30 states that an employer must keep and maintain certain registers and records, and also display prescribed notices on the premises of their establishment. This is subject to the general or special orders given by the Government. All these registers and records should be physically present at the establishment to which they relate.

Preservation of certain rights and privileges

Section 31 of the Act contains provisions for the preservation of certain rights. Accordingly, the enactment of this Act does not invalidate any rights or privileges that an employee in any establishment already possesses, on the date when this Act comes into effect. These rights or privileges can stem from other laws, contracts, customs, or agreements applicable to the said establishment. If these existing rights or privileges are more beneficial to the employee than what is provided in this Act, they will be upheld.


Section 32 of this Act states that if a person does or intends to do anything in good faith, then he shall not be prosecuted for the same under this Act. 

Delegation of powers

Section 33 of the Act states that the Government can grant authority to any officer or subordinate authority, through an official notification in its official Gazette, to carry out some or all of the powers granted to the Government by this Act. However, the power mentioned in Section 34 cannot be delegated. The delegation is subject to any specified restrictions and conditions outlined in the notification. The exercise of the powers delegated under Section 33(1) is under the oversight of the Government or individuals empowered by them for that purpose. The Government retains the authority to control and review the actions or proceedings of any person empowered in this manner.

Power to make rules

Section 34 of the Act outlines the power of the government to make the rules. The Section states that:

  • The Government has the authority to enact rules, as published in the official Gazette, in order to implement the provisions of this Act.
  • Specifically, without limiting the general power mentioned above, these rules can cover the health, safety, and welfare of the employees.
  • When making rules under this section, the Government can decide that breaking these rules could result in a fine of up to fifty rupees.
  • The authority to create these rules, as granted by this section, requires the rules to be made public before they become effective.
  • All rules created under this section must be presented to the Legislative Assembly for at least fourteen days as soon as they are made. During this time, the Legislative Assembly can make changes to the rules, either in the current session or the one immediately following.

Power of government to suspend provisions during fairs and festivals

Section 35 of the Act states that during special occasions related to fairs, festivals, or a series of public holidays, the Government has the authority, through an official Gazette notification, to temporarily suspend the application of all or specific provisions of this Act for a defined period.

Repeal of certain enactments

Section 36 of the Act outlines that starting from the effective date of this Act, in any given area the legislations listed in the Schedule will be repealed in their application to that area. However, any actions taken under those legislations, which could have been performed under this Act, if it was already in force at that time, will be considered as if they were carried out under this Act.

Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1975

The Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Act, which was enacted in 1975. It applies to the whole state of Kerala. 


The purpose of this legislation is to create a fund to support the well-being of labourers and address certain related matters. The Act in its preamble has stated that it is necessary to establish a fund that will help to improve the lives of workers in Kerala and deal with related issues. The main intention of the Act is to protect the lives of workers by providing well-established funds.

Important definitions of Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1975 

Board: Section 2(a) of the Act, the ‘Board’ refers to the Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Board, which is created as per Section 4 of the Act.

Commissioner: Section 2(b) of the Act, the ‘Commissioner’ is the person appointed as the Labour Welfare Fund Commissioner under Section 22 of the Act.

Contribution: Section 2(c) of the Act, ‘Contribution’ means the amount of money that needs to be paid to the Board. This payment follows the rules outlined in Section 15 of the Act.

Employee- Section 2(d) of the Act, An ‘employee’ means:

General Employee: Any person hired to do work, whether skilled or unskilled, manual, supervisory, clerical, or technical, in a business or company. This includes someone employed for at least thirty days in the past year, whether the employment terms are clearly stated or implied. However, it does not include:

  • Someone employed mainly in a managerial role.
  • Someone holding a certain office or performing managerial functions due to the nature of their duties or the powers vested in them.
  • Apprentices or those working on a part-time basis. An apprentice is someone recognized as such by the established rules of the organisation or declared by the Government.

Government Declaration- Any other person working in a business or company, whom the Government may officially recognize as an employee through a notification. If there’s any uncertainty about whether a person qualifies as an employee under this law, the matter will be decided by the Government or an authorised officer, and their decision will be final.

Employer- Section 2(e) of the Act, An ‘employer’ means any person who hires one or more employees directly or through someone else, whether it’s for themselves or another person. It also includes:

  • In a factory, it refers to a person named under a specific clause (f) of subsection (1) of Section 7 of the Factories Act, 1948, who is identified as the manager.
  • In any other kind of workplace, it refers to any person responsible either for supervising and controlling the employees or for handling the payment of wages.

Establishment- Section 2(f) of the Act includes definitions of ‘establishment’ in a different spectrum, that state:

  • For a factory, a place defined as a factory under the Factories Act, 1948, or any place deemed to be a factory under specific circumstances in that Act.
  • For motor transport undertaking, a business is involved in motor transport as defined in the Motor Transport Workers Act, of 1961.
  • For agricultural Land,  any land used for growing tea, rubber, coffee, cardamom, oil palm, or cocoa, where ten or more persons are employed or were employed on any day in the past twelve months.
  • For commercial establishment or shop, any commercial establishment as defined in the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1960 or shop that employed two or more persons on any working day in the preceding twelve months. Special provisions apply to such establishments even if the number of employees decreases later.
  • For societies and other businesses any establishment, including a society registered under specific acts, engaged in business, trade, or related work, employing more than twenty persons on any working day in the past twelve months. It excludes establishments of the Central or any State Government.
  • Any other establishment that the Government officially declares through a notification in the Gazette for the purposes of this Act.

Fund- Section 2(g) of the Act, ‘Fund’ refers to the Labour Welfare Fund created under section 3 of this Act.

Inspector- Section 2(f) of the Act, an ‘Inspector’ means a person appointed under section 24 of this Act.

Unpaid accumulation- Section 2(k) of the Act defines ‘unpaid accumulation’. Accordingly, it refers to all payments but not including gratuity, that are owed to an employee, but have not been paid within three years from the date they became due. This applies to payments due both before and after the start of this Act. It includes gratuity that an employee earned after the enactment of this legislation began, but hasn’t been paid within three years from the accrual date. However, it does not include any contributions made by an employer to a provident fund established under the Employees Provident Funds Act, 1952 or any other provident fund set up by the government. 

Labour Welfare Fund

Section 3 of the Act outlines the establishment and management of the Labour Welfare Fund. Accordingly, the government is responsible for creating a fund named the Labour Welfare Fund. This fund serves as a savings pool for receiving payments owed to employees but not yet paid. It is referred to as unpaid accumulations. Employers are obligated to pay these unpaid accumulations to the Board at specified intervals. The Board then credits these amounts to the Labour Welfare Fund. The Board maintains a separate account for these accumulations until their claims are settled according to the procedures outlined in Section 13.

Section 3(2) of the Act includes provisions for the various sources of contributions to the Labour Welfare Fund. The Labour Welfare Fund receives contributions from a variety of sources. This includes-  

  • unpaid accumulations paid to the Board under sub-section (2) of Section 13;
  • fines imposed on employees by employers, 
  • deductions made under specific Section (Section 9) of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936;
  • contributions from both employers and employees;
  • penalty interest under Section 14; 
  • voluntary donations;
  • funds raised by the Board from other sources;
  • amounts transferred under under sub-section (6) of Section 17; and
  • money borrowed under Section 18;
  • unclaimed amounts credited to government as per  Payment of Wages of 1936 and Minimum Wages Act, 1948; and 
  • grants or advances from the Central or State Government or any local authority.

The specified amounts collected from these various sources are managed by different agencies at prescribed intervals by following specified procedures. Additionally, the accounts of the Labour Welfare Fund are maintained and audited according to rules outlined by regulations.

Establishment, constitution, terms, disqualification, and functions of the Board

Establishment of Board 

Section 4 of the Act contains the provisions for the establishment of the Board. The Board is named ‘Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Board’, and it will be set up by the Government. This Board will officially come into existence on a date specified by the Government through a notification in its official Gazette. The Board is like a legal entity that continues to exist over time (perpetual succession), and it has the ability to take legal actions, and it can sue and be sued. It is a body corporate with a common seal.

Constitutions of the Board

Section 5 of the Act, prescribes the provisions for the constitutions of the Board. Accordingly, it includes:

  • The Board will have members appointed by the government, and these members will fall into two categories:
    • Representatives of employers and employees, with an equal number from both groups. The specific number will be decided as per the regulations.
    • Officials and non-officials, also in a number determined by regulations.
  • The Government will choose one member from the Board to serve as its Chairman.
  • The total number of members on the Board, including the Chairman, shall not exceed twenty-five members.
  • Section 6 of the Act states about the appointment of the Chairmen. The Government will officially announce the appointments of the Chairman and other members of the Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Board through an official notification. 

Term of Board members:

Section 7 outlines the terms of Board members, it states that:

  • Members of the Board will have a term of three years from the date of their appointment, but not including official members.
  • Members are eligible for reappointment.
  • A member can continue until their successor is appointed.

Disqualifications of the Board member

Section 8 of the Act, outlines the conditions that disqualify a person from being a member of the Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Board. It also covers the circumstances under which a member can be removed. A person cannot become or continue to be a board member if:

  • They are an officer or employee under the Board.
  • They are undischarged insolvent, which means someone who hasn’t been released from bankruptcy.
  • They are of unsound mind.
  • If someone has been found guilty of a serious crime that shows they lack morals, unless that decision has been reversed, 
  •  if they owe money to the Board and haven’t paid it back yet.

As per Section 8(2) of the Act, the government has the authority to dismiss any board member if:

  • They have acquired any of the disqualifications listed above or,
  • They have been absent from three consecutive board meetings without obtaining leave from the Board.

Resignation of the members

Section 9 of the Act outlines the resignation of the members. It states that if any member except an official member wants to leave their position, they can do so by writing a letter to the Government. Once the Government accepts the resignation, the member is considered to have left the position. If a member’s position becomes vacant unexpectedly, the Government can appoint someone new to the role as soon as possible. The newly appointed member will serve for the remaining time left in the term of the member who left.

Powers of Board

Certain provisions of the Act prescribes the power of the boards, the major provisions are:

  • As per Section 10 of the Act, the Board has the authority to form committees to help with its duties, especially concerning specific tasks mentioned in Section 17(3) of the Act. These committees must include at least one Board member.
  • As per Section 11, any actions taken by the Board or its committees under this Act won’t be considered invalid just because:
    • There’s a vacancy or some problem with how the Board or committee is set up,
    • There’s an issue with how someone was appointed to the committee, or
    • There’s some irregularity in the actions taken, as long as it does not affect the main point of the case.
  • As per Section 18 of the Act, the Board can borrow money when needed, but they have to get permission from the Government first. They can only borrow according to the rules of this Act and any conditions set for borrowing. This money is used for the purposes laid out in the Act.
  • Section 32 states that the Board has the authority to oversee the money that an establishment sets aside specifically for the welfare of its employees. It further states that:
    • The Board can ask the employer of the establishment to show documents about how they’re using the money meant for employee welfare. This helps the Board make sure the money is actually being used for that purpose.
    • The Board can also ask the employer for any information they think is important to understand how the money is being used.
    • If the Board thinks it is necessary, they can give instructions to the employer on how to use the money to improve the welfare of the employees.

Functions of the Board

Section 12 of the Act states the functions of the Board. The main function of the Board is to manage and administer the Fund. Along with this, the Board is also responsible for any additional tasks or duties as per the Act or other regulations related to its functioning.

Procedure for handling the unpaid accumulations

As per Section 13, any money owed to employees but not paid by the employer is considered abandoned property. If the employer pays this money to the board constituted by the government, they are not responsible for paying the employee any more, but only up to the amount paid to the board. Thus,  liability to make payment to the employee to the extent aforesaid shall be deemed to be transferred to the Board 

The board must put up notices and publish them in the newspaper to let employees know they can claim their unpaid money and the Board also needs to publish in its official Gazette. Notices must be posted twice a year for three years in June and December, the month after the money is paid to the board. If there is a question about whether notices were properly given, the board’s certificate saying they were is final. 

Employees have four years to claim their money. If they do, it’s handled by a special authority (Section 15 of the Payment of Wages Act), which follows the provisions of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and reimburses the amount. This authority can decide if the claim is valid. If it is, the board must pay the employee accordingly. The board can’t pay more than what was originally handed over to them. If a claim is rejected, the employee can appeal to the District Court within sixty days. The decision of the authority and the District Court is final. If nobody claims the money, or if the claim is rejected, it becomes the property of the state and is added to a Fund. 

To know more about the Payment of Wages Act, refer here.

Contribution to the Welfare Fund

Section 15 outlines the rules and requirements related to contributions to a Fund, it states that:

  • Employees are required to contribute four rupees every six months, and employers need to contribute eight rupees for each employee during the same period. These contributions must be paid to the Fund by employers before the 15th day of July and the 15th day of January each year.
  • Employers can collect the employee’s contribution by deducting it from their wages or using any other specified method. This deduction is considered authorised under the Payment of Wages Act, of 1936.

To know more about payment and deduction, click here. 

Consequences of non-payment to the Welfare Fund

Section 14 has provisions for the rules and consequences for employee failure to pay the contributions funds. It states that:

  • If an employer fails to pay the contributions owed to the fund on time or doesn’t pay the Board the unpaid amounts or fines from employees within the specified period, the commissioner can issue a notice to the employer. The notice requires the employer to pay the amount within a period of at least thirty days from the date of service.
  • If the employer, without a valid reason, doesn’t pay the specified amount within the given period mentioned in the notice, they will be liable to pay an additional penalty. This penalty is in the form of simple interest at a rate of nine percent per annum, and it will be calculated from the date when the amount was originally due.
  • The government may have the authority, under prescribed conditions, to forgive or reduce the entire or a portion of the penalty for any specific period.

Further, as per Section 27 any sum payable to the Board or into the Fund under this Act shall, without prejudice to any other mode of recovery, be recoverable on behalf of the Board as an arrear of public revenue due on land. 

As per Section 16 of the Act, the government has the authority to provide financial support to the Board for the implementation of this Act. This support can come in the form of grants or loans, and the specific terms and conditions attached to each grant or loan will be determined by the government.

Vesting and utilisation of fund

Section 17 of the Act outlines the rules regarding the vesting and application of a Fund. The Section specifically related to the welfare of employees. The Board acts as a trustee for the Fund. It will handle and utilise the fund in accordance with this Act. The Board will use the money in the Fund for covering the expenses of various measures determined by the Government in order to enhance the well-being of employees and their dependents. The Board can use the money for specific activities, such as:

  • Community and social education centres, including reading rooms and libraries
  • Games and sports
  • Vocational training
  • Community necessities
  • Entertainment and recreation
  • Convalescent homes for tuberculosis patients
  • Holiday homes in health resorts
  • Part-time employment for housewives of employees
  • Preschools
  • Higher education
  • Nutritious food for children of employees
  • Employment opportunities for disabled employees
  • Administrative costs of running this Act, including salaries and allowances of staff
  • Other activities to improve living standards and social conditions of labour

It also mentioned in Section 17(3) that if there is a legal requirement that the employer must fulfil such as providing a certain benefit by any law, in such circumstances the employer cannot use this Fund to cover the costs of meeting those legal obligations. Further, the section states that any money collected as unpaid amounts or fines, without considering the other existing legal frameworks or agreements, should be directed and managed by the Board in accordance with the provisions of this Act. 

Section 17(4) of the Act outlines that, with the Government’s approval, the Board can provide grants from the Fund to local authorities or other bodies in order to carry out activities benefiting the welfare of the employee. Section 17(5) states that, if there is a question about whether a specific expense is eligible for the Fund, such matter will be referred to the Government and the Government decision will be final.

Management of board’s fund

Section 19 explains how the Board’s Fund is managed and its accounts are audited. Accordingly it states that:

  • All the Fund that Board receives needs approval from the Government before being deposited. It can be put in certain banks specified by law, and only authorised Board officers can access these accounts.
  • Every year, the Board’s accounts are checked by an auditor, and these certified accounts, along with the audit report, are sent to the Government. 
  • The Government can give instructions to the Board based on these reports, and the Board must follow them.
  • The Government then presents the Board’s accounts and audit report to the State’s Legislative Assembly every year for review.

Investment of funds

Section 20 of the Act contains the deposit and investment of the fund if it cannot be used immediately. Accordingly, if for some reason the Fund or a portion of it cannot be used immediately for the activities mentioned in the Act, in such situations the Board has a specific course of action. The Board will deposit the funds in Government Treasuries or nationalised banks, in scheduled banks, in district cooperative banks, or it can invest the funds in certain specified securities. The types of securities in which the Fund can be invested are specified in Section 20 (a) to (d) and (f) of the Indian Trusts Act, 1882. 

Government power to give direction to the Board

Section 21 of the Act states that the Government has the authority to provide instructions to the Board with regard to the use of the Fund and the implementation of provisions of this Act. These instructions are considered necessary in managing the expenses from the Fund and in achieving the objectives of this Act. It is the duty of the Board to follow and comply with these directions given by the government.

Appointment of various officers

Commissioner appointment, powers, and duties

Section 22 of the Act contains the provisions for the appointment, powers, and duties of a Commissioner for the Labour Welfare Fund. The government has the authority to appoint a Commissioner for the Labour Welfare Fund. This Commissioner will serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Board and will be responsible for managing the Fund. While appointing the Commissioner the nature of service, and the salary scale for the Commissioner will be considered in accordance with the established guidelines. The Commissioner’s main responsibility is to determine if the provisions of this Act and the established rules are properly enforced or not. To fulfil this duty, the Commissioner has the power to issue orders that are in line with the Act and its rules. These orders can cover a range of matters, and the Commissioner may issue orders to implement decisions made by the Board under this Act.

Appointment of Finance Officer

As per Section 23 of the Act, the government will appoint a Finance Officer for the Board through an official announcement in the Gazette. The Finance Officer will have specific powers and duties, and these will be determined as per prescribed rules. The terms and conditions of the Finance Officer’s appointment, the nature of their service, and their salary scale will be determined according to established guidelines.

Appointment of Inspectors

As per Section 24 of the Act, the government can appoint Inspectors, through an official announcement in the Gazette. These Inspectors should have the qualifications specified in the rules. The government can specify the geographical areas as local limits and types of establishments where these Inspectors will carry out their duties. Within their designated area an Inspector has the authority to:

  • Conduct examinations and inquiries to ensure in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
  • Request the employer to produce any required registers and documents related to the amounts payable to the Fund.
  • Enter premises with suitable assistants during reasonable hours.
  • Exercise any additional powers as specified in the established rules.

Appointment of board staff

As per Section 25 of the Act, the Board has the authority to hire a suitable number of officers and other employees required to fulfil its duties under this Act. The terms and conditions of the appointment, including the nature of service and salary scales, for the officers and staff will be determined according to regulations set by the Board.

Penalty provisions 

Penalty for obstructing an inspector

Section 28 of the Act contains a penalty for obstructing an inspector or failure to produce documents. It states that if someone intentionally obstructs an Inspector from doing their job or refuses to provide necessary documents for inspection, they can be punished.

  • For a first offence, the punishment could be imprisonment for up to three months, a fine of up to five hundred rupees, or both.
  • For a second or subsequent offence, the penalty may include imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to one thousand rupees, or both.

If the court imposes a fine, it should not be less than fifty rupees unless there are specific reasons mentioned in the judgement.

Penalty for non-compliance with Board’s directions

As per Section 33 of the Act, if someone intentionally fails to provide documents or information as required by the Board, or does not follow the directions issued by the Board they can be punished.

  • For the first offence, imprisonment for up to three months, a fine of up to five hundred rupees or both can be ordered.
  • For a second or subsequent offence, the punishment may include imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to one thousand rupees, or both.

Penalty for other offences 

Section 28A states that any violation or failure to comply with the Act, rules, or regulations can result in imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to five hundred rupees, or both.

The court, when convicting a person for default in paying amounts due to the Fund or Board, can order the recovery of that amount as if it were a fine.

Cognizance of offences

As per Section 29, courts can only consider cases under this Act if a complaint is made by an Inspector with the prior written sanction of the Commissioner. Only a Magistrate of the first class or a higher court can try offences under this Act.

Offences by companies

As per Section 30, if a company commits an offence, the person in charge and responsible for the company’s business at the time of the offence, along with the company, is considered guilty. Individuals in charge can avoid punishment if they prove the offence happened without their knowledge or that they took all due diligence to prevent it. If the offence is committed with the consent or neglect of any director, manager, secretary, or officer, they can also be held guilty.

Limitation of prosecution

As per Section 31, prosecution for offences under this Act must be initiated within one year from the date the Inspector became aware of the offence. No court can consider an offence after three years from the date the offence is alleged to have been committed.

Annual report

As per Section 34 of the Act, the Board is required to prepare and submit a report to the Government at the end of each year. This report should detail the Board’s activities during the previous year and also outline any planned activities for the upcoming year. The Government must present this report to the Legislative Assembly of the State after receiving it.

Supersession of board

As per Section 35 of the Act, if the Government believes that the Board is unable to fulfil its duties, has consistently failed in its responsibilities, or has misused its powers, they have the authority to temporarily dissolve the Board through an official announcement. Before taking this step, the Government must notify the Board, allowing it to provide reasons why it should not be dissolved. Once dissolved, all Board members vacate their positions, and the powers and duties of the Board are transferred to an authority or person designated by the Government. The funds, property, and liabilities of the Board during this period also transfer to the designated authority or person. 

Delegation of power

Section 36 contains the provision about how certain powers can be given to other authorities or officers. Accordingly, it states that:

  • The Government can give certain powers to any authority or officer through an announcement in the Gazette. They can also take back these powers later. However, they cannot delegate the power to make rules under Section 40 of the Act.
  • The Board itself can also give its powers to the Commissioner or other officers by a written order. Again, they can take back these powers later, except for the power to make regulations under Section 42.
  • When powers are given to someone else, there are rules and conditions they must follow, mentioned in the order. The Government or the Board can still control or change how these powers are used.
  • The Government or the Board also has the authority to review and change the actions of any officer who has been given these delegated powers.

Public servants

Section 37 states that certain individuals involved in the functioning of the Board are considered as public servants, it includes:

  • Members of the Board
  • The Commissioner
  • The Finance Officer
  • Inspectors
  • All officers and employees of the Board
  • Anyone else assigned to carry out tasks under this Act

They are all regarded as public servants according to the definition provided in Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. This means they are subject to the same legal standards and responsibilities as other public servants outlined in that Act.

Protection from legal action

Section 38 provides protection from legal action for individuals and entities acting in good faith under the provisions of the Act. It states that no lawsuit, prosecution, or legal proceedings can be initiated against any person for any action taken or intended to be taken in good faith in accordance with the Act, its rules, or orders made under it. Similarly, it ensures that neither the Government nor the Board can be sued for any damage caused or likely to be caused by actions taken or intended to be taken in good faith under the Act, its rules, or orders made under it.

Exemption from provisions of Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1975

Section 39 allows the Government to exempt certain establishments or types of establishments from following some or all of the rules in this Act. The Government can announce this exemption in the Gazette, which is an official government publication. However, this exemption can come with conditions specified in the announcement.

Power of Government

Under this Act, many powers have been provided to the Government, that includes:

Power to call for records

As per Section 26 of the Act, the Government can request and review the records of the Board. They can also inspect these records and oversee how the Board is functioning.

Power to make rules

As per Section 40, the Government through an official announcement in the Gazette has the authority to establish rules to implement the provisions of this Act. These rules can cover various aspects, including but not limited to:

  • The frequency and deadlines for paying sums specified in Section 3 to the Board or the Fund, the method of payment, and the collection agency.
  • Guidelines for maintaining and auditing the Fund’s accounts.
  • Allowances, if any, for Board members.
  • Procedures for deducting employee contributions from wages.
  • The format of notices regarding unpaid amounts.
  • Processes for making grants from the Fund.
  • Procedures for covering administrative expenses from the Fund.
  • Conducting the business of the Board.
  • Delegating the Boar’s powers and functions to the Commissioner or other officers, along with conditions and limitations.
  • Specifying the percentage of the Fund’s annual income that the Board can spend on staff and administrative expenses. 
  • Requirements for maintaining registers and records as per the Act.
  • Guidelines for publishing reports on activities funded by the Fund, including statements of receipts, expenditures, and accounts.
  • Any other matters that may be prescribed.

Power to make regulations 

Section 42 of the Act states that the Board has the authority to create regulations to support and implement the provisions of this Act. The Board needs to notify such regulations through an official announcement in the Gazette. These regulations should not contradict the Act and the rules established under it. The regulations cover various aspects, that includes:

  • Procedures for conducting business during Board meetings, including determining the required attendance.
  • Guidelines for forming temporary associations of individuals for specific purposes.
  • Responsibilities, functions, and terms of service for committee members.
  • Methods and formats for maintaining the Board’s accounts.
  • Any other matters that need or may be prescribed through regulations.
  • Any regulation or its cancellation or modification is only effective if approved by the Government.

The Section also allows the Government to revoke any regulation made under this section through an official announcement in the Gazette.

The Kerala Labour Welfare Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2021

The Kerala Labour Welfare Fund (Amendment) of 2021 passed in the Fifteenth Kerala Legislative Assembly. The proposed bill is intended to make further amendments to the Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Act, of 1975. The Bill primarily focuses on amending the amounts specified in the Act of 1975. Additionally, it repeals a previous ordinance of the Kerala Labour Welfare Fund (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 on February 11, 202, related to the same subject. 

Changes to Section 15 of the Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1975

As per Section 2 of the Bill made several changes to Section 15 of the Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1975. Under the previous provision, employees were required to contribute an amount of eight rupees. However, now in Section 15(1) of the Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Act of 1975, the amount that used to be four rupees is now forty-five rupees. Similarly, under the previous provision, employees were required to contribute an amount of eight rupees. But, with the revision, this contribution amount has also been increased to forty-five rupees.

Cancelling and saving 

As per Section 3 of the Bill, Kerala Labour Welfare Fund (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 is repealed, and it is no longer valid. Even though it’s cancelled, anything done or thought to be done under the main Act with the changes from that Ordinance is still considered as done under the main Act, with the changes from this new Act.

Reasons for the amendment to Kerala Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1975

Earlier, employees had to give four rupees, and employers had to give eight rupees every six months. However, the Fund’s income is not sufficient. Government thought it would be better if employees gave forty-five rupees, and employers also gave forty-five rupees. This extra money would help the fund to do more good things. The government needed to make this change as soon as possible and the assembly wasn’t meeting, so an ordinance on January 16, 2020, was passed. It’s like a temporary rule. They tried to make it a permanent law, but it didn’t work in 2020. So, they kept using the ordinance three more times in the same year because the assembly still wasn’t meeting. They tried again in 2021 to make it a proper law, but it didn’t happen during the assembly sessions. The current Bill aims to replace the latest Ordinance with a permanent law that is passed by the State Legislature.

The Kerala Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Rules, 1974

The Kerala Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Rules of 1974 are the rules made by the Government of Kerala under the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 which is the central Act. The Government has the authority to make these rules under Section 35 of the Act. These rules were published as required by the Act. 

Major definitions of the Rules are included as follows

  • Appellate Officer- As per the Rule 2(b) of the Rules, ‘Appellate Officer’ refers to the person appointed by the State Government under Section 15(1) of the Act to handle appeals.
  • Board- As per Rule 2(c) of the Rules, ‘Board’ means the State Advisory Contract Labour Board formed under Section 4.
  • Chairman- Rule 2(d) of the Rules, ‘Chairman’ refers to the leader or head of the Board.
  • Committee- Rule 2(e) of the Rules, states ‘Committee’ as a group formed under Section 5(1).
  • Labour Commissionerate Automation System- Rule 2(fa) of the Rules defines the Labour Commissionerate Automation System. Accordingly, it states that software is owned and operated by the Labour Department. It provides effective solutions to employers, employees, and labour administrators.
  • Licensing Officer- Rule 2(g) of the Rules, defines ‘Licensing Officer’ as a person appointed under Section 11(a) of the Act to handle licensing matters.
  • Registering Officer- As per Rule 2(h) of the Act, a ‘Registering Officer’ refers to an official appointed under Section 6(a) of the Act to manage registrations.

Constitution of the State Advisory Board

As per Rule 3, the State Advisory Board will be made up of the following members:

Chairman- The Board consists of a Chairman and will be chosen by the State Government.

State Labour Commissioner- The State Labour Commissioner will be appointed as an ex-officio member.

Government Representative- The State Government will appoint a person from its officials to represent them.

Employer and Contractor Representatives- Four individuals will be appointed by the State Government, two will represent employers, and the other two will represent contractors to whom the Act applies.

Worker Representatives- The State Government will appoint four individuals who will represent workers. Two of them will represent workers of contractors to whom the Act applies.

Duration of the members

Rule 4, prescribes the term of office of the members, it includes as follows:

  • The Chairman of the Board will serve for three years from the date of his appointment. It will be announced in the official Gazette.
  • The member representing the State Government mentioned in Rule 3 they will continue as long as the State Government wants them to.
  • Members representing employers and workers will each serve for three years from the date of their appointment and will be announced in the Gazette. If the State Government hasn’t announced a successor within these three years, the current member will continue until a successor is officially announced in the Gazette.


As per Rule 5, any member of the Board, except those who are automatically members because of their positions, can quit by writing a letter to the State Government. Once the State Government accepts the resignation or after thirty days from the date the resignation letter is received by the Government, whichever comes first, the position of that member becomes vacant.

Cession of membership

As per Rule 6, if any member of the Board, who is not automatically a member due to their position and misses three meetings in a row without getting permission from the Chairman for their absence, they will stop being a member. However, if the State Government believes that the member had a good reason for missing those three meetings, they can decide that the member won’t stop being a part of the Board. If this decision is made, the member will continue to be a part of the Board.

Disqualification for membership

Rule 7 provides the disqualifications of the member’s membership. A person cannot be chosen or continue as a member of the Board if:

  • They are declared of unsound mind by a competent court.
  • They are undischarged insolvent, someone who hasn’t paid off their debts.
  • They have been convicted of an offence that, according to the State Government, involves immoral conduct.
  • If there is any doubt about whether someone is disqualified under these rules, the State Government will make the decision.

Removing a member

Rule 8 prescribes that the State Government has the authority to take away the position of any member of the Board if they believe that the member will no longer truly represent the interests they were needed to represent on the Board. However, before removing any member, the government must give them a fair chance of hearing to express their views and make a case against the decision.

Filling vacancies on the Board

Rule 9 states that, when a position on the Board becomes empty or is about to become empty, the Chairman must inform the State Government. Once notified, the State Government will take action to fill the vacancy by appointing someone from the same category as the member who left. The new appointee will serve for the remaining term of the member they are replacing. However, if a member dies or resigns, the Government can appoint a replacement without waiting for a report from the Chairman.

Staff appointment and duties

As per Rule 10, the State Government has the authority to appoint a Secretary to the Board, who can be one of its officials, either on a full-time or part-time basis. Additionally, the government can hire other staff members deemed necessary for the Board’s functioning. The salaries, allowances, and other conditions of service for these staff members will be determined by the State Government.

Duties of the Secretary:

  • The Secretary assists the Chairman in organising Board meetings.
  • The Secretary can attend the meetings but cannot vote.
  • It is the Secretary’s responsibility to maintain records of the minutes from the meetings.
  • The Secretary ensures that the decisions made during the Board meetings are carried out effectively.

Allowances for Board members

The Rule 11 prescribed the provision for the allowances for Board members. This includes:

  • Official members of the Board will receive travelling allowance as per the rules applicable to them for official journeys. This allowance will be paid by the authority responsible for paying their salary.
  • Non-official members of the Board will be provided with travelling allowance and daily allowance when they attend Board meetings. The rates for these allowances will be equivalent to those admissible to Grade I Officers of the State Government.

Meetings of the Board

Rule 13 states that the Board will arrange the meeting with its members. The place and times are decided by the Chairman. The Chairman leads every meeting, and if he’s not there, the members present will choose one of the official members to lead the meeting.

Notice and agenda

Rule 14 prescribes for regular meetings, members get a ten-day notice, and for urgent meetings, they get a five-day notice. 

Disposal of business in the meeting

The Rule 12 basically states that whenever the Board of a company needs to make a decision, they have to discuss it at a meeting. The decision will be made based on what most of the Board members agree on. If there’s a tie, the Chairman of the meeting gets to break the tie by casting an additional vote. The Chairman mentioned here includes the main Chairman or any other person nominated to lead the meeting. So, the person in charge has the final say if there’s any disagreement among the Board members.

Quorum for the meeting

Rule 15 states about the number of people needed to be present for a meeting to be valid. It says that at least five members must be present for any business to be discussed and decided upon. But, if fewer than five members show up, the Chairman (the person leading the meeting) can postpone the meeting to another day. They have to inform the members who are there and let the other members know about the new meeting date. At the postponed meeting, even if there still aren’t enough members present, the Chairman can still go ahead and discuss and decide on the business that needs attention. So basically, if there aren’t enough people, the Chairman can still handle important matters.

Committees of the Board

Rule 16 allows the Board to create committees for specific purposes as it sees fit. When forming a committee, the Board can choose one of its members to be the Chairman of that committee. Committees will meet at times and places decided by the Chairman of the committee. The Rules 12, 13(2), 14, and 15 that apply to the Board’s meetings also apply to the Committee, with a change in the quorum requirement. For the Committee, one-third of the members is enough instead of five members. The rules regarding attendance that apply to Board members also apply to Committee members when attending Committee meetings.

Registration and licensing procedures

Rule 17 states that to register an establishment under Section 7(1), the application must be submitted through the Labour Commissionerate Automation System using Form 1. Fees for the application should be paid through the Labour Commissionerate Automation System.

Certificate of registration

Rule 18 states that the certificate of registration, granted under Section 7(2), will be in Form II and contain details like the establishment’s name, address, maximum workmen to be employed, type of business, and other relevant particulars. The registering officer will maintain a register Form III listing establishments with registration certificates. If there are changes in the registered particulars, the principal employer must inform the registering officer within thirty days.

Rejection of registration application

Rule 19 prescribes if an application is incomplete, the registering officer will ask the principal employer to make it complete. If the principal employer doesn’t comply, the registration application may be rejected.

Amendment of registration certificate

Rule 20 states that if the registering officer finds out that the fees paid for registering an establishment are less than what is required, they will ask the employer to deposit the extra amount. The employer must show a receipt for this deposit. If there are changes in the establishment’s particulars, the registering officer will update the register Form III. However, these updates won’t have any impact on past events or any rights or responsibilities that were established before the changes. Additionally, the officer won’t proceed with making any updates unless the employer has paid the necessary fees.

Applying procedure for a licence

As per Rule 21, contractors must apply for a licence through the Labour Commissionerate Automation System using Form IV. The application should include a certificate Form V from the principal employer, confirming the contractor’s employment and agreement to abide by the Act and rules. Fees and security deposits must be remitted through the Labour Commissionerate Automation System.

Licence considerations

As per Rule 22, these are the factors considered when deciding whether to grant or refuse a licence:

  • Eligibility of the applicant is considered. It includes whether the applicant is a minor, declared mentally unsound by a competent court, an undischarged insolvent, or convicted of a morally questionable offence in the past five years.
  • Whether there are any state government orders or agreements to abolish contract labour for the specific type of work the applicant intends to do.
  • Whether any previous orders have been issued against the applicant under Section 14, and if so, whether three years have passed since the order.
  • Whether the required application fees have been paid according to Rule 26.
  • Whether the applicant has deposited the required security as per Rule 24.

Refusal to grant licence

As per Rule 23, the licensing officer investigates the contractor’s application and, if necessary, rejects it after giving the applicant a chance to be heard.

Security deposit

Rule 24 prescribes the provisions for the security deposit. It states that Before issuing a licence, the contractor must deposit security calculated at the rate of Rs.100 per workman or Rs. 5 for cooperatives for compliance with licence conditions.

Licence forms and conditions

Rule 25, stated the forms and conditions for the licensing.

Licence forms

Every licence Form VI is non-transferable and is issued or renewed under specific conditions.

General Conditions

  • The number of contract labourers must not exceed the maximum specified in the licence.
  • Fees paid for the licence, or its renewal, are non-refundable.
  • Wage rates paid by the contractor should not be lower than those prescribed by the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, or as agreed upon in settlements or awards.

Wage Rates and Conditions

  • For similar work as directly employed by the principal employer, the contractor’s labourers should receive the same wage rates, holidays, and working hours.
  • In other cases, the State Labour Commissioner specifies wage rates, holidays, and working conditions, considering similar occupations.

Special Considerations

  • In establishments with twenty or more women workers, two rooms for their children under six years old must be provided.
  • One room is for play, and the other for sleeping.
  • The contractor must supply toys, games, cots, and bedding as per standards set by the State Labour Commissioner.

Notification of Changes:

  • Any changes in the number of workmen or working conditions must be notified to the licensing officer.


Rule 26 prescribes the aspect of Fees. It states that Fees and security deposits are remitted through the Labour Commissionerate Automation System. Contractors must adhere to standards set by the State Labour Commissioner for creche construction and maintenance.

Validity of the licence

As per Rule 27, any licence issued under Rule 25 or renewed under Rule 29 shall be effective for twelve months from the date of issuance or renewal.

Amendment of the licence

As per Rule 28, the licence issued under Rule 25 or renewed under Rule 29 may be amended by the licensing officer for valid reasons. The contractor seeking an amendment to the licence must submit an application to the licensing officer by stating the nature of the amendment and providing reasons for it. If the licensing officer approves the application

the applicant will be required to provide a treasury receipt for any additional fees, if applicable, resulting from the amendment compared to the original issuance fees. Upon receipt of the treasury receipt, the licensing officer will proceed to amend the licence as per the applicant’s request. If the application for amendment is denied, the licensing officer must provide reasons for the refusal and communicate them to the applicant.

Renewal of the licence

As per Rule 29, the licence needs to be renewed, accordingly it states that:

Every contractor must request renewal of their licence from the licensing officer. Each renewal application must be submitted using Form VII through the Labour Commissionerate Automation System and must be made at least thirty days before the licence’s expiration date. If this deadline is met, the licence will be automatically renewed.

The renewal fees for the licence will be the same as those for its initial issuance. However, if the renewal application is not submitted within the specified time frame in sub-Rule (2), an additional fee of 25% above the standard renewal fee will be charged.

Nevertheless, if the licensing officer acknowledges that the delay in submitting the application is due to circumstances beyond the contractor’s control, they may reduce or waive this extra fee as deemed appropriate.

Issuance of duplicate certificate

As per Rule 30, If a certificate of registration or a licence issued or renewed according to the previous rules has been lost, defaced, or accidentally destroyed, a duplicate may be provided upon payment of a fee of ten rupees.

Refund of security

As per Rule 31, when a contractor’s licence expires, and they decide not to renew it, they can request a refund of the security deposit they made when obtaining the licence. If the licensing officer finds that the contractor hasn’t violated any licence conditions and there is no order to forfeit the security, they will refund the security deposit. If there is an order to forfeit part of the security deposit, that amount will be taken out, and the remaining balance will be refunded. Any refund application should ideally be processed within 60 days of receiving the request.

Grant of temporary certificate of registration and licence

As per Rule 32, if an establishment urgently needs contract labour for a short duration, not exceeding fifteen days, the Principal Employer or the contractor can apply for a temporary certificate of registration or licence from the registering officer or the licensing officer, depending on the area where the establishment is located. The application for this temporary certificate or licence must be submitted in triplicate using Form VIII or X, accompanied by a treasury receipt indicating the payment of appropriate fees and, for a licence, the required security deposit. Once the complete application is received, and it’s verified that the work requiring contract labour is urgent and can not be delayed, the registering or licensing officer will promptly issue a certificate of registration (Form IX) or a licence (Form XI) valid for up to fifteen days. If a certificate or licence is not granted, the reasons for refusal will be recorded.

Once the temporary registration certificate expires, the establishment must stop employing contract labour covered by that certificate. The fees for temporary registration certificates are determined based on the number of workers proposed to be employed, as specified. Similarly, the fees for temporary licences are also based on the number of workers to be employed by the contractor. The rules regarding refusal to grant licences and the grant of licences apply to the temporary certificates and licences as well.

Appeals and procedure

Chapter IV, from Rules 33 to 39 prescribes the provisions for filing an appeal. Accordingly, it includes the following rules:

  • Rule 33 states that every appeal under Section 15(1) of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act be submitted using a Memorandum. This Memorandum must be signed by the appellant or their authorised representative and presented in person or sent via registered post to the Appellate Officer. It should be accompanied by a certified copy of the appealed order and a treasury receipt of Rs. 10. The Memorandum should clearly outline the grounds of appeal under distinct heads. 
  • As per Rule 34, if the Memorandum of Appeal doesn’t comply with the rules, the Appellate Officer can reject it or send it back to the appellant for amendments within a specified time. If rejected, the Appellate Officer must record the reason and communicate it to the appellant. If in order, the Appellate Officer will admit the appeal, endorse the presentation date, and register it in the Register of Appeals. The Appellate Officer notifies the Registering Officer or Licensing Officer, requesting the case record, once received the Appellate Officer schedules a hearing and notifies the appellant.
  • As per Rule 35, if the appellant doesn’t appear on the scheduled hearing date, the Appellate Officer has the authority to dismiss the appeal.
  • Rule 36 states that the dismissed appellant can apply for readmission within 30 days by explaining the sufficient cause for non-appearance. If such reasons are valid, the Appellate Officer restores the appeal with its original number.
  • Rule 37 states that the Appellate Officer proceeds with the hearing, allowing the appellant and their authorised representative to present their case. The Appellate Officer delivers a judgement confirming, reversing, or varying the appealed order. The judgement outlines the points for determination, decisions, and reasons for those decisions. The order is communicated to the appellant, with a copy sent to the Registering or Licensing Officer.
  • Rule 38 includes that all applicable fees must be paid into the local treasury under the specified account and a receipt, obtained for the payment, should be submitted with the application or appeal.
  • Rule 39 states that Copies of orders from the Registering Officer, Licensing Officer, or Appellate Officer can be obtained by paying a fee of Rs. 2 for each order. An application specifying the date and other particulars of the order must be made to the concerned officer.

Welfare and health of contract labour

Chapter V of the Rules deals with the welfare and health of contract labour. Accordingly, the Rules include the following:

  • Rule 40 – Contractors must provide essential facilities to the employees within seven days of existing establishments and within seven days of hiring contract labour for new establishments. These facilities include an adequate supply of clean drinking water, a proper number of toilets and urinals, washing facilities, and basic first-aid amenities. If the contractor fails to provide any of the mentioned facilities within the defined time, the principal employer takes charge. The principal employer should step in and check these facilities are in place within seven days after the given time frame.
  • Rule 41 – If contract labour is required to stay overnight for at least 3 months in connection with the establishment’s work, in such situations the contractor must establish restrooms within 15 days of existing establishments and within 15 days of hiring for new establishments. If the contractor fails to provide these rest areas within that time, the principal employer is responsible for setting them up within 15 days after the given period. This Rule also includes separate rooms available for women employees. Further, it states that adequate ventilation in every room is essential for fresh air circulation. Sufficient and suitable natural or artificial lighting must be maintained. The rest areas should provide at least 1.1 sq. metre of floor area per person. Construction should ensure protection against heat, wind, and rain, with a smooth and impervious floor surface. The rest areas or alternative accommodations should be easily located and there should be a good supply of clean drinking water. This Rule is intended to ensure that workers have comfortable and safe rest areas during their overnight stays. 
  • Rule 42 – For establishments where contract labour numbering a hundred or more is employed for at least six months, in such circumstances the contractor must provide a canteen within 60 days of existing establishments and within 60 days of hiring for new establishments. If the contractor fails to set up the canteen within the specified time, the principal employer takes charge within 60 days after the deadline. The contractor or principal employer must efficiently maintain the canteen.
  • Rule 43 – The canteen should include a dining hall, kitchen, store room, pantry, and separate washing areas for workers and utensils. Further, it also covers that adequate lighting is necessary at all times. The canteen premises must be kept clean and sanitary and along with this proper drainage and waste disposal systems should prevent accumulation and nuisances.
  • Rule 44 – The dining hall should accommodate at least 30% of contract labour working at a time. The floor area per dinner excluding service areas should be at least one square metre. A portion of the dining hall and service counter should be reserved for women workers too.
  • Rule 45 – Sufficient tables, stools, chairs, or benches should be provided to the workers. Utensils, crockery, cutlery, and other equipment must be sufficient and maintained hygienically.
  • Rule 46 & Rule 47 – Food items served should align with the normal habits of contract labour. Canteen prices should be based on no-profit, no-loss and prominently displayed.
  • Rule 48 – Certain expenditures, rent, depreciation, maintenance, etc. should not be considered when determining food prices.
  • Rule 49 and Rule 50 – Canteen accounts and records must be available for inspection by any Inspector. Annual auditing of canteen accounts by registered accountants is mandatory, with exceptions approved by the State Labour Commissioner based on feasibility.
  • Rule 51 – Establishments covered by the Act, toilets should be provided based on the following scale:
    • One toilet for every 25 females.
    • One toilet for every 25 males.
    • For more than 100 males or females, one toilet for every 25 individuals up to the first 100, and one for every 50 thereafter.
  • Rule 52 – Each toilet should be covered, partitioned for privacy, and equipped with proper doors and fastenings. 
  • Rule 53 – Establishments with both male and female workers, a notice indicating ‘For Men only’ or ‘For Women only’ in the language understood by the majority should be displayed outside each block of toilets and urinals. The notice should also include appropriate symbols.
  • Rule 54 – One urinal for every 50 male workers up to 500, and one for every 100 or part thereof thereafter. and the same is maintained for female workers too.
  • Rule 55 – Toilets and urinals should be conveniently located and accessible to workers at all times. Toilets and urinals should contain proper lighting and be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. Toilets must comply with public health authorities’ requirements, especially for non-flush systems.
  • Rule 56 – Water should be provided, either through taps or other means easily accessible in or near the toilets and urinals.
  • Rule 57- Correct and suitable washing facilities must be provided and maintained for the use of contract labour in every establishment covered under the Act. Separate and proper screening facilities should be provided for male and female workers. These facilities should be conveniently accessible and maintained in a clean and hygienic condition.
  • Rule 58 – This Rule states about first-aid facilities. It states that there should be first-aid boxes that are easily accessible during all working hours at a rate of one box for every 150 contract labour or part thereof ordinarily employed.
  • Rule 59 – The box marked with a red cross on a white background, should contain essential equipment based on the number of contract labour.
    • For up to 50 labourers- Sterilised dressings, burn dressings, iodine solution, snake-bite lancet, potassium permanganate crystals, scissors, aspirin tablets, ointment for burns, and surgical antiseptic solution.
    • For more than 50 labour- Additional quantities of the above-listed items.
  • Rule 61 – In establishments with 159 or more contract labour, the person in charge of the first-aid box should be trained in First-Aid treatment.


Chapter VI of Rules deals with different provisions with regard to wages. 

  • Rule 63 deals with the period of wage to be paid to the workers. Accordingly, it states that the contractor is responsible for setting wage periods for which payments are due.
  • Rule 64 states that no wage period should extend beyond one month.
  • Rule 65 states that for establishments with fewer than a thousand workers, wages should be paid within the seventh day from the end of the wage period. In other cases, payment should be made before the tenth day.
  • Rule 66 states that, if a worker’s employment is terminated, the wages earned must be paid within two working days from the termination date.
  • Rule 67 states that all wage payments should occur on a working day, at the work premises, during working hours, and on a predetermined date. If work is completed before the end of the wage period, the final payment must be made within 48 hours of the last working day.
  • Rule 68 states that wages should be paid directly to the worker or a person authorised by the worker.
  • Rule 69 states, all wages should be paid in current coin or currency or both.
  • Rule 70 states that wages should be paid without any deductions, except those specified by the State Government or permitted under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936.
  • Rule 71 states that a notice indicating the wage period, place, and time of wage disbursement must be displayed at the workplace, and a copy sent to the Principal Employer.
  • Rule 72, the Principal Employer should ensure the presence of their authorised representative during wage disbursement, and the contractor must disburse wages in their presence.
  • Rule 73 states that, the authorised representative of the Principal Employer should certify, under their signature, that the wages have been paid in their presence.

Register, records and collection of statistics

Chapter VII, from Rules 74 to 83 deals with various rules on the register, records and collection of statistics, it includes as follows:

  • Principal employers must maintain a register of contractors for each registered establishment.
  • Contractors should maintain a register of persons employed for each registered establishment where they employ contract labour.
  • Contractors are required to issue employment cards to workers within three days of employment, keeping them updated.
  • After termination, contractors must provide a service certificate to the terminated worker.

Maintenance of Muster Roll, wages register deduction, overtime register

  • For establishments covered by certain Acts, specific registers and records must be maintained, including Muster Roll, Register of Wages, Register of Deductions, Register of Overtime, Register of Fines, and Register of Advances.
  • For other establishments, contractors should maintain the Muster Roll and Register of Wages, with wage slips issued a day before disbursement.
  • Deductions, fines, and advances should be recorded in separate registers, and overtime worked should be documented.
  • Contractors should display a summary of the Act and rules in English, Malayalam, and the majority language spoken by workers.
  • All registers and records must be maintained, complete, and up to date, in English or Malayalam language.
  • Records should be preserved for three years from the last entry.
  • All records must be produced on demand by the Inspector or authorised personnel.
  • Notices regarding rates of wages, work hours, wage periods, payment dates, Inspector details, and unpaid wages should be displayed in English, Malayalam, and the local language understood by workers.
  • Contractors and principal employers must submit half-yearly and annual returns, respectively, in the specified forms within the designated timelines.
  • Authorities have the power to request information or statistics related to contract labour, and those called upon are legally bound to provide the required details.

Kerala Industrial Establishments (National And Festival Holidays) Act 1958

The State of Kerala in the year 1958 enacted the Kerala Industrial Establishments (National and Festival Holidays) Act. It was enacted in the Ninth Year of the Republic of India. It applies to industrial establishments across the entire state of Kerala.

This Act certifies, under Section 11, that the provisions of this Act will not affect any rights or privileges of the employee which are related to national and festival holidays granted by any other law in force or under any contract, custom, or usage. This condition is valid only if such rights or privileges are more favourable to him than those to which he would be entitled under this Act.

Purpose of the Act 

The main aim of this law is to guarantee that people who work in factories and industries in the state of Kerala get specific days off or some vacations for both national holidays and festivals.

Important definitions of the Act

  • As per Section 2(a), a ‘day’ in this Act, is considered as a period of 24 hours starting from midnight.
  • As per Section 2(b), an ‘employee’ includes any person like an apprentice who is hired to do various types of work in an industrial establishment. It covers both manual and office work, and the government can also declare other individuals as employees through an official announcement.
  • As per Section 2(c), the term ‘employer’ refers to the person who has the ultimate control over the industrial establishment. If someone else is in charge of the establishment’s affairs, that person is also considered an employer within the ambit of this Act.
  • As per Section 2(d), a ‘holiday’ means the days off as specified in this Act.
  • As per Section 2(e), ‘industrial establishment’ includes any place, like a factory or plantation, where 20 or more people are employed. The government can also declare other places as industrial establishments.
  • As per Section 2(f), an ‘Inspector’ is someone appointed to ensure that the rules of this law are followed.
  • As per Section 2(g),  ‘Plantation’ refers to an estate that is at least twelve hectares in size or employs twenty or more people, and it’s maintained for growing certain crops like cardamom, cinchona, coffee, rubber, or tea.
  • As per Section 2(h), ‘wages’ include all the money or benefits that an employee should receive for their work. This covers allowances, the value of accommodation or services provided, but it doesn’t include:
    • Any bonuses.
    • Contributions by the employer to pension or provident funds or other benefits required by law.
    • Gratuity payments when employment ends.
    • Any extra money given to the employee to cover specific work-related expenses.
    • Travel concessions or allowances.

Grant of national and festive holidays

Section 3 states that every worker is entitled to certain holidays each year. This includes a full day off on the 26th of January, the 15th of August, the 1st of May, and the 2nd of October. Additionally, there are nine more holidays for festivals, and these specific festivals are decided by the Inspector after consulting with both the employer and the employees of the industrial establishment. If an industrial establishment starts its operations for the first time during a calendar year, the Inspector will determine the number of festival holidays for the remaining part of that year. However, this number should not be less than the calculation of one day for every three months or part of the remaining period of the calendar year.

Duty of the employer to display a statement of holiday

The employer has a duty to put up a notice in the workplace. Such notice must consist of detailed information about the holidays allowed for each calendar year as per Section 3. This notice should be in a specific form, it must be displayed within a certain timeframe, and in a manner specified by the regulations. 

However, the employer has the authority, as outlined in Section 4A, to instruct an employee to work on a holiday mentioned in Section 3. This instruction must be given in writing and served to the employee in the way specified by regulations. A copy of this notice should also be sent to the Inspector, and another copy must be displayed in the workplace at least twenty-four hours before the holiday in question. If an employee works on a holiday from Section 3, they get double their regular wages. They may also take substituted leave for holidays. 

Payment of wages during holiday

Section 5 of the Act speaks about the payment of wages to employees during holidays. Accordingly, it includes as follows:

  • Every employee must be paid wages for holidays mentioned in Section 3 without considering any work requirements as per Section 4A or whether there’s a strike or lockout. If a holiday falls during a lay-off, the employee gets 50% of the basic wages and dearness allowance.
  • If a holiday falls during a strike considered illegal under the Section 24 of the Industrial Dispute Act of 1947, and the employee took part in it they won’t be paid for that holiday.
  • If an employee works on a holiday from Section 3, they get double their regular wages. They also have the option to take another day off as a substitute holiday with the same pay.
  • Employees paid per day or based on their work output receive holiday pay calculated from the average of their daily earnings over the 30 working days leading up to the holiday.
  • If they work on the holiday, they get paid at double the average rate and can take another day off with the same pay. However, for holidays other than January 26th, August 15th, May 1st, and October 2nd, they must have worked for the employer for at least 30 days within the 90 days before the holiday.
  • Any money owed to an employee under this law can be collected as if it’s land revenue arrears under the existing Revenue Recovery Act.

Appointment of Inspectors

As per Section 6 of the Act, the government can appoint individuals or a certain category of individuals as an Inspector through an official notification in the Gazette. These Inspectors will work within specific areas outlined by the government. As per Section 21 of the Act,  an Inspector is considered a public servant under the Indian Penal Code 1860. 

Powers of Inspectors

An Inspector has the following powers as per Section 7:

  • He can enter any place believed to be an industrial establishment at reasonable times, bringing along assistants if needed.
  • He has the authority to inspect the premises, examine prescribed registers, records, and notices, and collect evidence from relevant individuals on-site or through other means.
  • He can use additional powers necessary to fulfil the objectives of this Act.

However, individuals questioned under this section are not required to answer any questions or provide evidence that might incriminate them.

Penalties provisions

  • Section 8 of the Act, prescribes the penalties for the contraventions of provisions of this Act. Accordingly, employers who violate the rules outlined in Section 3 or Section 5 shall face penalties in the form of fines, with the maximum amount set at two hundred and fifty rupees.
  • As per Section 9 of the Act, if someone intentionally hinders an Inspector from exercising their authorised powers under this Act or refuses to provide the information which is demanded by an Inspector, they shall face punishment for those acts. The information may include any register, record, or notice in their possession required by this Act or its rules, they can be punished. In such situations, the punishment may include imprisonment for up to three months, a fine that can go up to five hundred rupees, or both. 

Exemptions to certain class of people

Section 10 of the Act, certain individuals and establishments are exempt from the provisions of this Act. This includes employees in management roles, those whose jobs involve frequent travel, industrial establishments which are under the control of the Central Government, the Reserve Bank of India, a railway administration operating any railway as defined in Article 366(2) of the Constitution, or a cantonment authority, and mines or oil fields are exempt from the Act. The government has the authority to exempt certain establishments or individuals from the rules of this Act. This exemption can be either permanent or for a specific period, and such exemption will be officially announced in the Gazette through a notification. The government can set conditions for the exemption as they find appropriate.

Power of the government to make rules

Section 12 of the Act, the government has the authority to create rules through an official announcement in the Gazette to implement the provisions of this Act. If a rule is violated, the government may decide to impose a fine of up to fifty rupees. Additionally, any rule made under this Act must be presented before the Legislative Assembly during its session. The Legislative Assembly has a total of fourteen days, which can be in one session or two successive sessions, to either agree to the rule, suggest modifications, or reject the rule. If the Legislative Assembly agrees with modifications or rejects the rule within the specified timeframe, the rule will only take effect in its modified form or will be deemed invalid. However, any actions taken under the rule before the modification or rejection will be valid.

Laws concerning the safety of women and children in a workplace in Kerala

In Kerala, there are specific laws and regulations that aim at ensuring the safety of women and children in the workplace. These laws cover various aspects such as working conditions, harassment prevention, and protection of rights. Some of the major legislations are as follows:

Kerala Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules, 1993

The Government of Kerala has enacted the Kerala Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules in 1993 (hereinafter referred to as Rule). This Rule is associated with and derived from Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 (hereunder referred to as Act), which is a central government Act. The central Act sets the framework, and the Kerala Rules provide specific details and guidelines for the implementation of the provisions within the state of Kerala. The main intention of the Act is to protect children from unsafe work. This law makes it illegal for children to work in certain jobs. The main goal of the law is to stop any kind of child abuse through employment and prevent children under 14 years old from doing dangerous work. This law was created to provide a comprehensive set of rules to address the issue of child labour. The Rule also contains the same intentions in order to implement those provisions in Kerala.

Important definitions of the Rules

  • Rule 2(a), ‘Act’ means the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
  • Rule 2(b), ‘Board’ means the Medical Advisory Board constituted under Rule 5.
  • Rule 2(c), ‘Chairman’ means the chairman of the Medical Advisory Board.
  • Rule 2(f), ‘Register’ means the register required to be maintained under section 11
  • of the Act.
  • Rule 2(h), ‘Section’ means a section of the Act.

Working hours

As per Rule 3, children cannot work for more than four and a half hours a day in places covered by Part III of the Act. Employers must send a notice showing the working hours in both English and a language that the majority of workers understand. This notice should be in a noticeable location within the establishment. Further covers that, children cannot be asked or allowed to work on their designated rest days.

Medical Advisory Board

As per Rule 5, the government shall establish a Medical Advisory Board. This Board’s purpose is to offer effective advice and guidance on issues related to providing medical facilities. The goal is to determine that matters concerning the health and safety of individuals are addressed and sorted out effectively.

Constitution of Medical Advisory Board

As per Rule 6, the Board will be made up of the following people:

  • Chairman- The head of the Board is the Secretary to the Government in the Labour Department. They automatically hold this position.
  • Medical Officers- Two medical officers not lower than the rank of District Medical Officer, chosen by the Government.
  • Employer Representatives- Two individuals representing employers, appointed by the Government.
  • Employee Representatives– Two individuals representing employees, selected by the Government.
  • Convener- An officer, at least as high as the rank of Joint Labour Commissioner, chosen by the Government. This person is responsible for coordinating the Board’s activities.

Duration of the term of the members of the Board

Rule 7 states the duration of the members of the Board, it includes:

  • Non-Official Members- Members who are not a part of the government will serve on the Board for three years from the date of their appointment. They can leave earlier if they resign, pass away, or if the government removes them for specified reasons recorded in writing.
  • Official Members- Members who are government officials, mentioned in item V of Rule 6 will serve at the pleasure of the government. Their term is not fixed and depends on the government’s decision.
  • Filling Vacancies- If a non-official member leaves before their term ends, a replacement will serve for the remaining period of the original member’s term.

Travelling allowance for the members

As per Rule 8, every person who is not a government official but is a member of the Board will get money for travelling and daily expenses. The amount they get will be the same as what a high-ranking government officer gets when they travel for work. This money is given to them when they go to meetings of the Board.

Power and functions of the members of the Board

As per Rule 9, the Board will give advice to the government about the standards for medical facilities that employers should provide, as stated in Rule 14. The Board will look into and provide feedback on any issues related to the arrangement of medical facilities. These could be things the government or the Board’s Chairman specifically asks them to consider and report on.

Meetings of the Board 

As per Rule 10, the Board should have a meeting every six months. If more than half of the members request a meeting in writing, the Chairman must call a meeting within fifteen days.

Notice of the meetings 

As per Rule 11, the Chairman decides the date, time, and place of each meeting. A written notice, including these details and a list of topics to be discussed, is sent to each member at least fifteen days before the meeting. If the meeting is called due to a written request, a notice of seven days is sufficient.

Chairman to preside at meetings

As per Rule 12, the Chairman leads the Board meetings. If the Chairman is not present, members can choose someone from among themselves by a majority vote to preside over the meeting.


As per Rule 13, for any business to be conducted in a meeting, at least one-third of the members and representatives from both employers and employees must be present. If the required number is not met, the Chairman can adjourn the meeting to a new date within seven days. In the adjourned meeting, business can be conducted regardless of the number or type of members present.

Medical facilities in an establishment 

Rule 14, states that medical facilities need to be present in establishments where children are employed. It includes the following facilities:

  • In every place where children work, there must be a first-aid box with necessary supplies. The box should be clearly marked and kept stocked and in good condition.
  • If an establishment employs more than 150 children, it must have a dispensary. This dispensary should be equipped with the necessary tools and medications as directed by the government.
  • The dispensary should be overseen by a qualified medical practitioner. They will have assistance from staff as directed by the government.
  • The dispensary should have a minimum floor area of 250 square feet, with smooth and hard walls and floors. It should be well-ventilated and lit, using both natural and artificial means. Additionally, there should be a good supply of wholesome drinking water.

Register maintenance 

As per Rule 15, the person in charge of a workplace must keep a record of all the children working there. This record is called Form B, and it needs to be updated every year. The employer has to keep this register for three years after the last entry.

Certificate of age 

As per Rule 16, young people working in specific jobs or workshops must provide a certificate of their age when requested by an Inspector. The certificate, known as Form C, is issued by a qualified medical authority. In this regard, the employer is responsible for paying any fees associated with obtaining this certificate. The medical authority who issues the certificate should be a government medical officer, at least at the rank of an Assistant Surgeon in a district, or an officer with a similar rank working regularly in Employees State Insurance dispensaries or hospitals.

Kerala Maternity Benefits Rules, 1964

The state of Kerala in 1964 enacted the Rules called Kerala Maternity Benefits Rules (1964) which are associated with the central law called the Maternity Benefits Act 1964. The Maternity Benefit Act sets rules for the employment of women in specific establishments for a certain period before and after childbirth. Its purpose is to ensure that women receive maternity benefits and other related benefits during this time. The Act aims to safeguard and support women in the workforce during the critical phases surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. The Act also applies to the state of Kerala. The Rules include major provisions for the implementation of the Maternity Benefit Act 1964.

Major definitions 

  • Rule 2(b), ‘Competent Authority’ into two heads, for the plantation its the chief Inspector of Plantations and for other establishments, it’s the Chief Inspector of Factories.
  • Rule 2(d), ‘Muster Roll’ means a record maintained as per Rule 3.
  • As per Rule 3(e), ‘Registered Medical Practitioner’ is a  doctor whose name is officially listed in a registry governed by existing laws for registering medical practitioners.
  • Rule 2(f) ‘Section’ refers to a specific part or division of the Maternity Benefit Act 1964.

Muster Roll

As per Rule 3, employers in establishments with female workers must create and keep a Muster Roll using Form ‘A’. This document should include details about all the women working in the establishment. However, if the Competent Authority believes that another register or record in the establishment already contains the necessary information, they can allow it to substitute for the Muster Roll, as long as it meets the requirements. All entries in the Muster Roll must be made in ink, regularly updated, and be accessible for inspection by an Inspector during working hours. Employers have the flexibility to include additional details in the Muster Roll for other purposes related to the Act.

Proof related to pregnancy, childbirth, and related events

As per Rule 4, in order to establish that a woman is pregnant, has given birth, had a miscarriage, or is dealing with health issues related to these, a certificate is compulsory to be provided. The certificate format should be in Form ‘B’. This certificate can be obtained from:

  • A Medical Officer at a Government hospital or dispensary.
  • A Registered Medical Practitioner.

Confirmation of childbirth can also be established through:

  • A certified extract from a birth register governed by current laws.
  • A certificate signed by a registered midwife.
  • If a woman has experienced a miscarriage, this can be evidenced by a certificate signed by a registered midwife.

In case of the death of a woman or a child, proof can be provided by:

  • A certificate in Form ‘C’ from the mentioned authorities in Rule 4(1).
  • A certified extract from a death register under current laws.

Certificates from registered midwives confirming events like childbirth or miscarriage should be in Form ‘D’.

Maternity and other benefit payments

Rule 5 contains the provisions for maternity and other benefit payments for women. Accordingly, it states that 

  • A woman working in a company, eligible for maternity benefits, needs to inform her employer using Form ‘E’. 
  • The employer is responsible for making timely payments of maternity benefits and any other amounts owed under the Act. 
  • If the woman passes away before receiving these benefits, the employer pays them to the person nominated by the woman as stated in Form ‘E’ or, if no nominee exists then such benefits go  to her legal representative. In situations where the legal representative is uncertain, the employer seeks a decision from the Competent Authority. 
  • The Authority investigates and determines the legal representative, directing the employer to make the payment within a specified time. 
  • A receipt in Form ‘F’ must be obtained by the employer upon making the payment. The medical bonus is dispersed along with the second instalment of maternity benefits. Maternity benefits and other amounts under Section 7 of the Maternity Benefit Act Must be paid within two months of the woman’s death. 
  • Wages under Section 9 are paid to the woman, who is entitled to receive them, within 48 hours of presenting the certificate in Form B’ or Form ‘D’.
  • Wages under Section 10 are also paid within 48 hours to the entitled woman.

Rest hours for nursing mothers

Rule 6 states about breaks for nursing mothers. It says that there are two breaks, each lasting 15 minutes. In addition to these breaks, women are allowed extra time based on how far they have to travel to and from the place where their children are taken care of. This extra time should be at least 5 minutes and not more than 15 minutes. If there is any disagreement about how much extra time is needed, the issue will be decided by the Competent Authority.

Power and duties of Competent Authority and Inspectors

The Rule 7 outlines the duties and powers of the Competent Authority and Inspectors in overseeing and enforcing certain Rules. The Competent Authority is in charge of administering these rules throughout the state. Each Inspector has a designated area assigned by the government and works under the supervision and control of the Competent Authority. During inspections, an Inspector must check various aspects, including:

  • Whether proper action has been taken on notices issued under Section 6.
  • The correct maintenance of the Muster Roll as per Rule 3.
  • Any cases of discharge or dismissal in violation of Section 12 since the last inspection.
  • Compliance with various Sections like Section 4(1), Section 6(5) and Section 6(6), Section 8, Section 9, Section 10, Section 11, Section 13, and Section 19, and timely payment of amounts due.
  • Cases of deprival of maternity benefits or medical bonus against Section 12(2).
  • Progress in addressing irregularities from previous inspections and compliance with previous orders.

If an Inspector identifies irregularities, they must issue written orders to the employer. These orders should specify the irregularities and request the employer to rectify them within a given period. The employer must then report the compliance to the Inspector.

Gross misconduct 

As per Rule 8, the following  are the serious behaviours that are considered very wrong in accordance with Section 12. These wrongs are considered as gross misconduct under this Rule. Such gross misconducts includes:

  • Purposefully breaking or damaging things that belong to the employer. 
  • Physically attacking a boss or coworker while at work. 
  • Committing a crime that shows a lack of honesty or morality and getting convicted in court. Stealing, lying, or being dishonest in any way related to the employer’s business or belongings. 
  • Intentionally ignoring safety rules or interfering with safety equipment or fire-fighting tools.


Rule 9 outlines the filing of an Appeal under Section 12. Accordingly, it states that an appeal under Section 12(2)(b) of the Act should be submitted to the Competent Authority using Form ‘G’. The appeal can be in writing and can be submitted personally or sent via registered mail to the Competent Authority. Upon receiving the appeal, the Competent Authority must provide a copy of the appeal to the employer. The employer is required to submit a reply and relevant documents by a specified date. The Competent Authority may collect additional details from both the employer and the woman involved. After considering the facts, the Competent Authority makes a decision. If the employer fails to respond within the given period, the Competent Authority may decide on the appeal without the employer’s input as an ex parte. Section 12 of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 protects pregnant women from being dismissed unfairly from their jobs. Accordingly, it states that:

  • If a woman takes time off work because of her pregnancy, her employer can not fire her or change her job conditions because of it.
  • If a woman is fired while she is pregnant and would have been entitled to maternity benefits, she can still get those benefits. However, if she is fired for serious misbehaviour (like breaking important rules), her employer can stop her from getting those benefits.
  • If a woman is denied maternity benefits or fired unfairly because of her pregnancy, she can appeal within 60 days. An authority will decide if she should still get her benefits or keep her job.

Filing of complaint

As per Rule 10, a complaint under Section 17 (1) (power of Inspector to direct payments to be made) must be made in writing, using Form ‘H’ or ‘I’ as applicable. When an Inspector receives a Section 17 complaint, they examine relevant employer records, interview employees, and collect statements for the inquiry. If the Inspector determines that maternity benefit or payment has been improperly withheld, they direct the employer to make the payment promptly or within a specified period.

Appeals against Inspector’s decision

As per Rule 11 An appeal against the Inspector’s decision under Section 17(2) can be made in writing to the Competent Authority using Form ‘J’, along with supporting documents. Upon receiving the appeal, the Competent Authority reviews the case record and may record statements from the aggrieved person and the Inspector. The Competent Authority considers the documents, evidence, and facts before making a decision.

Non submission of notice, appeals or complaint in a prescribed form

Rule 13 outlines the preservation of the rights of the women in case of non-submission of notice, appeals and complaints. Rules 5, 9, and 10 outline certain procedures and requirements, but nothing in these rules affects the rights of a woman entitled to maternity benefits or any other amount due under the Act. Even if a woman fails to submit a notice, appeal, or complaint in the prescribed form as per the mentioned rules, her entitlement to maternity benefits or other amounts due under the Act remains unaffected. If a woman submits a notice, appeal, or complaint in a form other than the prescribed one, the concerned authority has the discretion to accept it. However, within 15 days of receiving such notice, appeal, or complaint in a non-prescribed form, the authority can request the woman to resubmit it in the prescribed form.

Supply of forms

Rule 12 states that employers must give female employees certain forms for free if they ask for them. These forms are called Form ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’, ‘F’, ‘G’, ‘H’, and ‘I’. These forms are likely related to maternity benefits, such as maternity leave, medical benefits, and other entitlements under the law.


Rule 14 outlines that any records that employers are required to keep according to the law and its rules must be saved for at least two years from when they were made. These records could include things like employee attendance records, payroll information, or documents related to labour regulations. Keeping these records for the specified time ensures that they’re available if needed for legal or administrative purposes.

Annual returns

Rule 16 outlines the requirement for employers to submit annual returns to the Competent Authority, which is typically a government body responsible for enforcing labour laws. Accordingly, this Rules states that:

  • Every employer must submit two forms, Form ‘L’ and Form ‘M’, to the Competent Authority by the 31st of January each year.
  • These forms provide information about the establishment for the previous year, detailing specific particulars as required by law.
  • If an employer sells, abandons, or stops operating the establishment covered by the law, they must submit additional returns.
  • Within one month of selling or abandoning the establishment, or within four months of discontinuing operations, the employer must submit another set of Form ‘L’ and Form ‘M’.
  • These additional returns cover the period from the end of the previous year to the date of sale, abandonment, or discontinuance.

Application of maternity leave for women working on a contract basis

Court order

The Kerala High Court, in RaKhi P.V vs State of Kerala (2017) case, has extended the scope of the Maternity Benefit Act’s application. The judgement in this case establishes that women on a contract basis, specifically those engaged in state-funded projects, are also entitled to maternity leave of 26 weeks. The court stated that all women employees, without any discrimination whether they are on a contract or not, should get better maternity leave. 

Here are the key changes they made:

  • Maternity leave benefits are now given to all women employees working on a contract, regardless of the duration of their contracts. They can take leave for up to 180 days.
  • Maternity leave now covers female officers on contracts who experience a miscarriage or abortion. They can take leave for up to six weeks.
  • To qualify for these benefits, a female officer must have worked for at least 80 days before the expected delivery or miscarriage date.

This decision is effective from February 27, 2018. However, it may not help those who had issues before that date. Maternity leave is only allowed three weeks before the expected delivery date, so it doesn’t have a big impact on past cases. 

Recent development and amendment in labour laws in Kerala

Recently many changes have been made by the government of Kerala with respect to the labour laws in Kerala. The changes have been done by considering the interests and welfare of the labourers in Kerala. Some of the major amendments include as follows:

  • The Kerala government has announced in the official notification a change in the rates specified in the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Worker’s Welfare Act, 2006. They are doing this by using the authority given in Section 4(6) of the mentioned Act. This change involves increasing the rate from Rs 20 to Rs. 50 in Section 4(3). The decision to make this revision is based on the consideration of the expenses associated with implementing the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Worker’s Welfare Fund Scheme. Section 4 of the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments Worker’s Welfare Act, 2006 allows the Government to reassess the rates for the worker’s welfare fund every three years. Following this provision, the Government has decided to notify the public about changing the existing rate from Rs 20 to Rs 50.
  • The Kerala government has introduced some major changes through the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, as per the notification issued on October 4, 2018. This ordinance comes into effect immediately. Here’s a breakdown of the amendments:
    • Amendment of Section 2- The definition of ‘Employee’ is updated to include anyone employed in connection with an establishment, including apprentices or any other group declared by the Government as employees.
    • Amendment of Section 20- Women employees can now be engaged between 9 PM to 6 AM under certain conditions:
      • Consent of the female employee is required.
      • Women should work in groups of at least five, including a minimum of two females.
      • Adequate measures must be in place to ensure dignity, safety, and protection from sexual harassment.
      • Transportation should be provided from the workplace to their residence.
    • Insertion of new Section 21B: Every shop and establishment must provide suitable seating arrangements for all workers during their work hours. It includes women workers too. This means that employers must ensure that workers have access to suitable seating options in order to prevent long periods of standing during their work shifts. The intention behind this amendment is to enhance the working conditions for employees by promoting comfort and minimising physical strain.
    • Amendment of Section 30: Registers and records can now be maintained electronically, but during inspections, a hard copy must be submitted to the Inspector.
  • The Government of Kerala has made a new rule for women working on a contract basis. If a female officer has a contract for more than a year, women can now take maternity leave, which means women can take time off when she is going to have a child. However, if her contract is for one year or less, she cannot take maternity leave. This rule was decided on January 4, 2021. On February 27, 2018, the High Court said that female employees on a contract should get maternity leave according to the rules for government workers and the Maternity Benefit Act, of 1961. Now, after looking into it carefully, the government has decided that female officers on contract can get full-pay maternity leave for up to 180 days or until their contract ends, whichever is sooner. This is according to Rule 100, Part I of the Kerala Service Rules. The leave can only start three weeks before the expected date of delivery as certified by a doctor and for an extra 6 weeks or until the contract ends, whichever is sooner, they can get leave on full pay according to Rule 101, Part I of the Kerala Service Rules. They need to provide a doctor’s certificate for this leave. To get these benefits, the female officer must have worked for the employer for at least 80 days just before her expected delivery date or the date of miscarriage. These rules have been in effect since February 27, 2018, and any changes to the Kerala Service Rules will be announced separately.

Current challenges in implementing the labour laws in Kerala

There are many challenges in implementing the labour laws in Kerala. On the other hand, there are some discrepancies with regard to the legislation on this behalf which includes:

  • In Kerala, about two-thirds of the people whose work falls into the informal economy. This includes individuals who work for themselves like small business owners, those who have regular jobs in small businesses, people who do temporary or casual work, and those who currently don’t have a job unemployed. Now, the issue is that many of these workers don’t have access to things like social security. Social security includes benefits like pensions, health care, and maternity benefits. 
  • The growth of secure jobs in large manufacturing industries has been slow. Most people find work in smaller factories, but these places are not as organised or structured, they may not offer the same level of job security and benefits as the established companies provide. So, while there are jobs in smaller places, they might not be as stable or provide as many advantages to the workers.
  • Even though more people in Kerala live in cities, there hasn’t been a big advantage in terms of more women finding jobs. There has been a shift away from traditional jobs like farming and fishing. More women are now working in jobs related to trade, transport, and services, which are part of the tertiary sector. However, despite these changes, the increase in job opportunities for women hasn’t been increased. So, there’s a gap between the higher urban population and the expected increase in women working in jobs.
  • In Kerala, unfair restrictions are imposed on women in certain industries. For example, though the government has adopted safer water-based dyes in the stencilling and dyeing process, the Kerala Factories Rules 1957 still classify this process as ‘dangerous.’ As a consequence, women are being prevented from working in these specific areas within coir factories. 
  • In chemical factories, where hazardous substances are used, women are mainly assigned housekeeping tasks. However, the rules continue to prevent women from engaging in various activities, branding them as ‘dangerous.’ This distinction between men’s and women’s roles seems unjustified.
  • In sectors like cashew processing, women are mostly involved in low-paying jobs like selling nuts, while activities like roasting and oil extraction are considered ‘dangerous’ and restricted for women. This restriction supposedly aims to protect women, but it ends up preventing them from having better-paying jobs and career advancement. 
  • On the other hand in government-owned companies like FACT and BPCL, women with technical skills are often placed in administrative roles instead of being allowed to work on the factory floor due to such jobs being considered as dangers. The efforts are made to call for a review of this draft government to change the Draft Rules of 2021 to check that equal opportunities for everyone are given without considering the aspect of gender.
  • Additionally, the government of Kerala introduced a draft of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Code Rules in 2021, which aims to replace the outdated Kerala Factories Rules of 1957. While the new rules aim to make it easier for women to work night shifts, there’s confusion in the draft about the details of how many women can be employed during nighttime in factories.

Suggestions to combat the challenges to labour laws in Kerala

In order to combat such challenges the following measures can be taken:

  • Government has to support the development of small and medium-sized businesses to create more job opportunities and ease the burden on formal employment.
  • Need to determine that workers in informal jobs would receive fair pay, work in safe environments, and have access to social security benefits.
  • For many people working in small businesses or doing temporary jobs, the government can help make their work more official. This means they would have better job security and benefits like health care and pensions.
  • Some jobs are labelled as ‘dangerous’ for women, which prevents them from doing certain tasks. This should be reviewed to make sure men and women have equal chances to work in all types of jobs. 
  • To help people get better jobs, the government and companies can teach them new skills. This way, they can find jobs in growing industries and have better chances for career growth.
  • In government-owned companies, women with technical skills should have the same chances as men to work on the factory floor. They should not be limited to administrative roles just because of their gender.


In Kerala, there are various rules which regulate labour-related issues. These rules cover things like work hours, pay, and the safety of the workers. These rules are intended to protect the rights of both men and women who work. This helps to make sure that employers and workers get along well. The labour laws play a very important role in safeguarding the interests of the workers. Certain labour laws in Kerala make sure that women and children are safe and treated fairly at work. These laws give pregnant women time off and benefits so they can take care of themselves and their babies. They also stop children from working in dangerous jobs. Kerala is the first state which has adopted the maternity benefit even to the private education sector. Though there is a well-structured enactment in the state of Kerala however some of the discrepancies are still present in some of the enactments. Recently, the government has made many changes in order to combat some of these discrepancies within the legislation. Overall Kerala has well structured labour laws that protect the employees and also establish definite rules for the employers to follow.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do labour laws cover in Kerala?

Labour laws include different aspects of employment like working hours, wages, and safety at the workplace. These laws aim to provide fair treatment of workers and create decent working conditions within the state of Kerala.

How do labour laws in Kerala contribute to social development?

Labour laws intend to provide fair and equal treatment of all workers. It promotes equality in the workplace and creates conditions that prioritise the welfare of the workers. This will help to contribute to the overall progress of the state.

Do central labour laws apply to the state of Kerala?

Yes, the central labour laws apply to the state of Kerala. Some of the major laws like the Minimum Wages Act 1948, the Maternity Benefit Act, Equal Remuneration Act 1976 and many others.


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